Remembrance & Veterans Day
Lt. Col. John McCrae, Canada
The Poppies of Flanders Fields
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; We give thee thanks for all those thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence, that the good work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen [1928 BCP]
At the 11th hour, on the 11th day, in the 11th month, on a train in France, the Armistice was signed to end the Great War. Many hoped, and prayed, that it would be the "War To End All Wars."
In 1953, in a small town in Kansas, the people decided to remember not only the veterans of the Great War, but all veterans in times of peace and war: and so it has become an annual remembrance of Veteran's Day in the United States.
We commend the Service of Prayer for Veteran's - Armistice Day, and also for use the following Sunday in public worship. Let us in particular this day, remember our veteran centurions, and especially those who are now in harms way.
The poppie flower has come to symbolize this memorial in the US, France and the Commonwealth nations, from the war-time poem of a Christian soldier, physician, and teacher, Lt. Colonel John McCrae who fell due to pneumonia during the Great War. We remember Colonel McCrae today, and all those gallant men who fell in the Great War and in the succeeding wars. I commend this site for a biography of his life and career.
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.
[May 3, 1915]
Lt. Col John McCrae, Canadian Expeditionary Forces
He felt he should have made greater sacrifices, and insisted on living in a tent through the year, like his comrades at the front, rather than in the officers' huts. When this affected his health in mid-winter he had to be ordered into warmer surroundings. To many he gave the impression that he felt he should still be with his old artillery brigade. After the battle of Ypres he was never again the optimistic man with the infectious smile. (Prescott. In Flanders Fields: The Story of John McCrae, p. 110).
McCrae contracted pneumonia and meningitis and died on 28 Janauary and "... was buried with full military honors in Wimereux Cemetery, just north of Boulogne, not far from the fields of Flanders. Bonfire [his horse] led the procession, McCrae's riding boots reversed in the stirrups. His death was met with great grief among his friends and contemporaries."
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]
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