The First World War was a tragedy on a scale that had not been seen before …
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.
“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.
The story goes that McCrae was unhappy with the poem and threw it away, but it was saved by fellow soldiers and published in London’s Punch magazine.
McCrae fought at Ypres and had to bury a close friend in the fields of Flanders, Belgium. He noticed how quickly poppies grew around the graves.
The poem’s reference to red poppies helped make the poppy internationally recognized as a symbol of Remembrance Day.
World War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. The Allies lost around 6 million military personnel and the Central Powers lost around 4 million.
It was called “the war to end war”.
Listen to Samuel Barber’s haunting Adagio for Strings as you scroll through images of the horror and sadness of the First World War.
Use this second player to stop the music (play then pause).
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The Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I; Barbara W. Tuchman’s Great War Series (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)
In this landmark, Pulitzer Prize–winning account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world.
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