Thursday, November 11, 2010

The War to End All Wars

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
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.

I first heard this poem in, of all places, What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?  As the Peanuts gang drove around Normandy, they visited sites important to World Wars I and II.  Their trip culminates in Linus reciting the first two verses of this poem while near the battlefields of Ypres.  See it for yourself (skip ahead to the five minute mark). 

On November 11, 1919, at 11:11 am, the armistice agreement that ceased hostilities in World War I went into effect.  World War I was a devastating conflict, inflicting casualties far beyond anything seen previously.  Millions went to war, and millions never returned.  Understanding World War I is critical to understanding World War II, yet many Americans know very little about this conflict.  Today is Veterans' Day: take a moment to remember those who serve, and those who have fallen.  And take a moment to remember World War I, the war to end all wars.

For more information, try one of these books.

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I by Ann Bausum 

The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman (read my review)
Truce by Jim Murphy

Images taken from Wikimedia Commons

No comments: