In Flanders Field
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.
http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields.htm Text and information about the poem
http://www.poppy.org.uk/ Information about the Poppy Appeal
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15690170 Pictures of Remembrance Day
Today is a day of Remembrance. As I walk down the streets of Glasgow, I see poppies blooming above the hearts of the young and old. Some are made of silk in a shop by veterans, some crocheted by those in the homeland, some cut from paper by school children, all in love and remembrance. Every year the Royal British Legion raises the Poppy Appeal asking all to wear poppies in honor of those who have in the past and currently serve their countries.
We are asked to remember those who gave their lives in the Great War. But we must add to our remembrance of World War One and World War Two, all the wars that have since commenced.
When war is declared, communities, families, and nations offer up the best they have. They send their young and strong in the love and faith of God and Country.
When war is declared, we ask of wives to become widows, of fathers to become childless, of seats in the school or church to be vacant, as we send our best to answer the call.
As I pondered on these things during church today, I thought it significant that a certain young woman from the congregation is shortly going to be leaving to serve a mission for the church. She is 21 years old and is going to serve for a year and a half as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Among those in the congregation were 4 young men currently serving missions in Scotland, a retired married couple serving a mission together, a young man ready to leave to Ogden, Utah as soon as his visa is processed, and another young woman who recently received a letter calling her to go to Denmark and serve as a missionary.
I have only been a member of this congregation for 2 months. But in that time, I have observed the love and careful preparation the entire group has made in behalf of offering up their best to answer the call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ with all their heart, might, mind and souls.
Indeed, I know this on a very personal level. When I was in high school, my older brother left on a two year mission to the Philippines, where he had to learn how to speak Tagalog. And I remember when he left I felt I was being robbed of a brother. I love my brother. I have always looked up to him, and been amazed at his courage, integrity, and dedication as he blazed the trail for all his younger siblings. And yet here he was going to the other side of the world, and I was going to miss him for two Christmases, my high school graduation, and two years of my life.
But I have come to learn that he was answering a call. A call to extend to others that same love of God that had so motivated his life. And as I saw my parents giving up their dearly loved son to this service of some greater cause, I began to catch a glimpse of the dual principles of love and sacrifice.
I have seen somewhat of the fear of a mother whose son is at war, and I have seen somewhat of the love of a community as they send their daughter on a mission. Why-for a love of God and of fellow man, and a love of a dear homeland. With faith and a perfect brightness of hope they give the best they have. And I have come to find that it takes a great deal of this faith and this perfect brightness of hope to fulfill the call to love and to sacrifice.
So the poppies will grow. And families, communities, and countries, and churches will continue to offer up the best they have. But, what is to be done, day by day, as we ponder on these things? As we see the unfolding of love and sacrifice? As we answer the call of God or Country?
I suggest that we make sure our remembrance is perfect. And perfect remembrance leads us to that gratitude that motivates us to uplift our thoughts, words, and actions. The Poppy Appeal is more than a call to wear a flower on your lapel. It is a plea to honor and embody those values that so many have given their best to protect.