Close to Nowhere
This little poem is about “The Great War, 1914-1918,” the war to end all wars. Well, that didn’t work out, but this poem still gives me goosebumps.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie — In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow — In Flanders fields.
Not many people today know anything at all about “The Great War.” To many young people, Korea and Vietnam are just old history.
A couple of teenage boys who I don’t know, but who are friends of one of my granddaughters on her Facebook page, horrified me last week. They were cracking jokes about the Holocaust, 9/11 and JFK’s assassination.
War and its horror are just a joke. “You gotta laugh,” one of the boys said.
I wonder, if they stood at the cemetery in Ypres Salient (the Flanders field battleground in Belgium) and really looked at the rows of crosses and maybe even poppies blowing, would they still laugh and crack jokes?
One of the boys said I had no sense of humor (they were being nice and polite, just couldn’t fathom not making jokes about the Holocaust). I said I had a weird, sick sense of humor (I do) and it went on and on. I finally told them that I was quitting the debate. I wasn’t getting through to them at all, I was just getting mad.
I’m getting a bunch of paper poppies from the local VFW for my granddaughter’s vow renewal/wedding Saturday, which is November 11, Veterans Day.
“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...” was when the truce was signed to end The Great War.
I doubt many of the young people who will be there Saturday (much more about that next week) have a clue as to why there are red poppies for Veterans Day. I hope I don’t forget to print the poem out to put beside the poppies.
Maybe if a few more people understood the horrors of war and death there wouldn’t be another mass shooting in the U.S. If you are so inclined, pray for all the victims.