DAILY PHOTO: Memorials under Autumn Skies, Andersonville

Taken in December of 2011 at Andersonville National Historic Site / Andersonville National Cemetery

DAILY PHOTO: Between the Crosses, Row on Row

Take December of 2012 at Andersonville National Cemetary

Taken December of 2012 at Andersonville National Cemetery

At a military cemetery like this one, a poem always plays in my mind. It was the first poem I ever memorized in full (not including snippets of some  disturbing mandatory children’s poems like “Ring Around the Rosie” [said to be about the Black Death] and–in Indiana–“The Little Orphan Annie” [about an enslaved orphan threatened with goblins.])

At any rate, the poem in question is In Flanders Fields by John McCrae. Sadly, I chose to memorize this poem for a school assignment of poetry recitation because it seemed short and it rhymed. However, in many subsequent re-readings it has become a very powerful bit of verse for me. It may not be perfectly apropos for Independence Day as it was written by a Canadian and is about an entirely different war. However, in some sense it’s about all wars and one motive that drives soldiers of free nations to fight them.

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.