Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae (1872-1918) composed this iconic poem after presiding over the funeral of a friend killed at the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915. He died of pneumonia at the age of 45 while commanding a war hospital in Boulogne, France. The image of the red poppy is ubiquitous in the international observance of November 11 as Veteran’s Day, Remembrance Day, and Armistice Day.
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.