Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day


John McCrae: In Flanders Fields (1915)

image Canadian poet John McCrae was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there. It created a great sensation, and was used widely as a recruiting tool, inspiring other young men to join the Army. Legend has it that he was inspired by seeing the blood-red poppies blooming in the fields where many friends had died. In 1918 McCrae died at the age of 46, in the way most men died during that war, not from a bullet or bomb, but from disease: pneumonia, in his case.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on rowimage
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.

Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. A federal holiday, it is observed on November 11. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, falling on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)
Especially, please remember all of the gay and lesbian service men and women who have served and too often died in silence about their sexuality, yet served their country with as much élan as any other soldier.  Hopefully soon, GLBT members of the military can serve openly and we can celebrate their service to the fullest extent of their deserved equality.  We need to rid America of DADT.
Happy Veterans Day!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post. I love Flanders Field. It reminded me to call my 84yo dad who is a WWII vet. He spent time in the Far East near the end of the war. It's just been in the last few years that he has talked about being in the Army, probably due to a long held resentment caused by their refusal to let him come home to his father's funeral when he died suddenly, as he was, in his words, "guarding empty warehouses from no one".

I agree about DADT. What a wimpy Pres Obama has turned out to be when he ran on the platform of repealing it and has done nothing to help the issue at all.

Peace <3

JoeBlow said...

On Veterans Day, we didn't get the holiday off at our school, but I did have ceremonies with most of my classes. It's a day we all should remember the sacrifices made for us.

I totally agree about Pres Obama. I think a lot of promises were made and with too many of those promises, he has fallen short. He could push the issue greater, and so far he hasn't. With a Republican House of Rep. maybe he will become more vocal because he has to.