1915: In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies grow 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.
During World War I, a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed by an exploding artillery shell. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, a Canadian military doctor and artillery commander from Guelph named Major John McCrae.
John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem "In Flanders Fields". It is one of the most memorable poems in our history.