In Fanders Field

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

By Lieutenant Colonel

 John McCrae, MD,

(1872-1918) Canadian Army

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.

This poem was written during WWI by a surgeon in the Canadian Army who witnessed first hand the slaughter of thousands of young men.

On Memorial Day we are supposed to remember the young soldiers from every war who never came home, and those who left home to fight and came home so damaged that civilian life is an alien concept.

My Aunt Olivia had two sons who were in the National Guard and served during WWII. Both came home. For years, Sammy would hit the dirt and crawl under the front porch if it thundered. Although he was in his early twenties his light brown hair was graying when he returned from Europe.. The family said Sammy and Jimmy were greatly altered by the years of war.

Jimmy went back into service during the Korean War. He was a medic. His parents and his wife were notified when he was reported missing in action. His body was never recovered. For years Aunt Olivia held out hope that somehow he was still alive.

Years later someone from his unit contacted the family and said he’d last seen Jimmy loading the wounded into an ambulance which sustained a direct hit from the North Koreans. It brought the family some peace to finally know what happened.

Aunt Olivia had the poem, In Flanders Field, framed. It hung on the wall of Jimmy’s bedroom with his photograph. She said he had been so full of life it was hard to believe he’d never come home again. She told us he had been the most rambunctious little boy, constantly into mischief.

He’d call up one of the neighbors, an extremely prissy lady named Mrs. Ferguson, and he’d ask her, “Mrs. Ferguson, do you have any dog soap?” When she answered in the affirmative he’d say, “Well go take a bath”, then hang up.

This was the little boy who grew into a fine man, who served his country and lost his life trying to save the lives of wounded soldiers. He should always be remembered.