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Remembering Americas fallen soldiers
Veterans Park of Effingham
Above, visitors scan the plaques on the Veterans Park wall to search for the names of loved ones who served the United States in times of war. - photo by Photo provided

"In Flanders Fields"

Written by Canadian Army Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That marks our place; And in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard among 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 high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

On this Memorial Day weekend, let us all remember those who served and those who gave all to preserve our freedom. The Effingham Veterans Park in Springfield, on Highway 21, is a fitting memorial to our veterans.

The poem "In Flanders Field" was written by a poet and physician named John McCrae from Ontario, Canada. During World War I, he fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium, where the German army held forces in battle for days and days with massive losses. The doctor buried some of the dead himself and noticed poppies grew in the fields around the graves. He composed the poem sitting on the back of an ambulance, jotting it down on paper. He later threw it out, and it was retrieved by someone else from the unit who convinced him to submit it for publication. It has become one of the most popular pieces of prose associated with wars.

American professor Moina Michael resolved to wear a red poppy year-round to honor the soldiers who died at war. She wrote the poem "We Shall Keep the Faith" and gave silk poppies to her peers and campaigned to have the red poppy become the emblem of remembrance for the American Legion. The Legion supported the proposal to sell poppies. The poppy also was accepted in Britain.

The custom of wearing poppies still remains popular in many areas of the Commonwealth of Nations, including Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. For many years our local American Legion Auxiliary sold the poppies and profits supported our veterans.

Today we remember those who served, those we lost and pray for those in harm’s way. May God bless our nation and our armed forces.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: