“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.”
Although in the United States November 11 is a day to honor soldiers generally, it must be noted that the date of Veterans Day is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. To many other countries in the world, it is called “Remembrance Day”, and places more emphasis on the World War I anniversary. Also, because of my own interest in that period of history, I cannot help but think of that war in particular. (The above poem was one of the most famous written in World War I.)
In many ways, it is grimly appropriate that it should have evolved from being a holiday in honor of those who fought in World War I to being one in honor of all who served. For World War I was an event that radically shocked people. I think that, more so than previous conflicts, it laid bare the horrors of war for all to see. I think people came to have a better understanding of how much suffering soldiers must endure, and why we must honor them for their sacrifice.