Friday, February 6, 2009

Flanders Fields- Lest We Forget

One of my favorite poems is In Flanders Fields written by Lt. Colonel John McCrae M.D. Today we drove to Brussels to do our legality and one of the canals we crossed was the Canal of Ypres and it was in that region that this battle took place. I'm sure my children will remember me reciting that poem to them many times during one Nat'l holiday or another. Who would have ever thought that I would one day live in Flanders and yet that is just where I am today. It's just amazing. I thought I would write the poem out for you today.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by 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 through poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Although this poem was written in WWI it always makes me think of our wars today. I think of the brave men who fight for and defend our freedom. It is the best of the best who go. The most handsome, strong, brave, patriotic men give up their lives for us. How grateful I am to all of those brave men. When I think of them, I cannot help but have tears roll down my face for the loss of these great men, some of them just babies really, although they do the job of a grown man. How grateful I am for the freedom that we have to live the lives that we want to live, to worship as we want to. I just hope that I am worthy of those brave souls who gave their lives for all of us.

As we drive to Lille and Ville Nueve d'Ascq almost every day, I read the signs of places that I have read about in the history books or have seen in the "old movies". Names of places like Normandy, Bastone, Dunkerque, Calais, Waterloo and others. Normandy is further down in Southern France, but the others are near to us. I think of Waterloo where the Duke of Wellington and his forces defeated Napoleon and his forces and of the wonderful movie Waterloo Bridge, Bastogne where the great tank battle took place where the German Wehrmacht's backbone was broken, Dunkerque where Hitler failed to annihilate the British forces when they were driven to sea and could have been destroyed. That was called the miracle that saved Britain. Then there is Armentiere and the canal of Ypres which we crossed today. Calais was the last french city that the English had to give up when they were retreating from France. The Queen of England was so sad that she said that if you open my heart, you would find the word Calais burnt into it. (not an exact quote) Finally, I think of Flanders where the great battles of the trench warfare took place. It is hard for me to believe that I am actually living right here for now. We hope to be able to visit some of these places before we leave.

Three of the big cities here are Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing. DH remembers studying about these cities when he was in school in Southern France where he grew up. Those were the great northern textile centers of the country for many years. There are some textiles work going on still, but most have been replaced with electronics. He kind of chuckled to himself as he thought of living here in a place that he had studied so much about and knew so much about, never dreaming of ever being here.


von said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yvonne said...

Sorry that comment was me using a different account.

I think It is so amazing where life takes us. It is wonderful that you are able to see and enjoy so much.

Speaking of Flanders Fields, I still remember when Kyle was in Grade 2 and for a Remembrance Day assembly his class recited Flanders Field. We have a little memorial here with the names of those from our area who have died in Wars. When Kyle came home from school he wanted to go and get flowers and put them on the memorial. It was a moment I knew he (and we) would always remember.

There is a beautiful statue at Calais.

The Wendler Family said...

It is so magical? Living in a place that you studied and learned so much about long ago? I think it must be!
What a beautiful poem! It is humbling to think of all the lives that are lost in the cause for freedom- especially ours.
Oh how I enjoy reading your blog and getting details of your marvelous adventures! I love you too. :)

Peter and Sharon Anderson said...

Gavin and Peter and I were just talking about Flanders this week and here is your picture of it. I loved reading your blog today and getting caught up on your adventures and experiences!

I have been trying to post a 3 min. video on my blog but I need Melanie to help me again because I can't remember how to do it. You can still see it at under "Sharon's Sunday Blog" Feb 8,2009.

Today was our ward conference. I was impressed again how our ward and in fact the church itself is made up individuals all with different talents and abilities and callings which can bless the group. Right now my calling is to be WEBELOS den leader, but it is not so different from your calling: I get to love and serve young people who will someday be leaders in the kingdom!

Health and love, Sharon