Dear Readers: Today is Memorial Day. In honor of all those who have served in the armed forces, we are printing this famous poem from World War I, written in 1915 by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. McCrae, a Canadian, served as a surgeon in the Great War.
After witnessing the death of a friend at Ypres, Belgium, he wrote this poem, which was later published in England.
In 1918 at the age of 46, McCrae died in France from pneumonia, a common battlefield ailment.
In Flanders Fields
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.
Inspired by McCrae’s poem, an American woman, Moina Michael, wore poppies to honor the war dead. She also began selling poppies to raise money for the disabled veterans of the Great War. This idea spread from the United States to France and England, and then to Canada, where it is still a tradition on Memorial Day.
Here’s one more, one of our perennials:
Last Monday in May
By John T. Bird
We pause to remember those who died
with so much courage, so much pride.
They’ll never come back but memories endure
to remind us of freedom: fragile, pure.
We’re worthy of their sacrifice if we pause each day
not just on the last Monday in May.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have a baby who is just beginning to speak, and he mimics the words we say. The problem is my husband has used foul language all his life. He doesn’t even realize he’s used a four-letter word, even when I point it out to him. He’s unintentionally cussed in front of both his boss and our pastor.
I’ve spoken to him about his language, but he argues with me and says he’s not saying anything different from what the baby hears on TV, so he shouldn’t be entirely blamed for whatever the baby learns. I don’t want the baby going to preschool talking like my husband. What can I do? — Burning Ears
Dear Burning Ears: If your baby is hearing four-letter words on TV, you ought to change the channel. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with your husband. This is an ingrained habit that is difficult to break and requires your husband’s total effort. Approach him in a spirit of cooperation and offer to help him work on it. But even so, your child can be taught that certain words are unacceptable. His teachers will make sure he doesn’t swear in school, and you can curtail any budding bad habits at home. Just make sure your husband doesn’t deliberately undermine your efforts.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.26.08