"In Flanders Fields" was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8 of that year in the London magazine Punch. 

We wear a poppy to remember the contribution and sacrifice of our veterans. The tradition was started in 1918 by American Moina Michael. She was so moved by John McCrae’s now-iconic Canadian poem In Flanders Fields, that she wrote a poem in response to it.

It was titled We Shall Keep Faith and goes like this:

Canada first adopted the poppy in 1921. It’s usually worn from about the last Friday in Oct. to the end of the day on Nov. 11. The Poppy represents a pledge to never forget those who died serving our country. The flower bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I. Its colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields

    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
   In Flanders fields. 

We Shall Keep Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields, Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw and holding high, we keep the Faith with All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red that grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red we wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught; We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders FieldsRemembrance DayVeterans DayMemorial Day U.S.Remembrance 2