Every Memorial Day I post here the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.
It was written in 1915 after McCrae presided over the funeral of a friend who died in the second Battle of Ypres.
And though it was written by a Canadian, it has become the commemoration of Memorial Day here in the United States.
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.
To me the most significant line is there in the last stanza.
“If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep.”
Memorial Day to me is not just a day to honor those who sacrificed all for our Liberty.
It is far more than that.
It is a living memorial – a day when we once again make that vow to keep the faith with those who died.
The torch they carried, those brave men and women can’t carry any longer.
“From failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.”
So it is up to us. We are the living memorial to those who have fallen.
And on this day we promise again to take the torch of Liberty and hold it high.
Their deaths cannot be in vain; we cannot break faith.
And so Memorial Day to me is the day to remind ourselves that we now hold the torch. It is up to us to hold it high – both in their honor and for our continued Freedom.
We are the sum of our past – the culmination of our history and those who came before us.
And Memorial Day is a living memorial – that present reminder that our Freedom came with both a price and a promise.
We are the promise.
We are the living reminder of those who came before.
And every day that we hold that torch high, we are keeping faith with those who fought and died for the Liberty we love.
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