• author
    • Donald Sanders

      Columnist
    • October 16, 2014 in Columnists

    In Flanders Fields

    I think the times when I’m happiest are the times I’m helping others. It doesn’t matter if they know you’re helping them or not – that’s not important. You see, it isn’t about them, it’s about yourself. It’s about how helping others make you feel inside. Doing things for others makes me smile from ear to ear.

    Certainly you know what I’m saying, because we all do things for others. We do it of our own free will. We do little things and we do large things in a most unselfish way and it makes us feel good. It draws us to the outside world, away from the isolation of the self. It is natural human interaction.

    We get so wrapped up in our own personal lives and the day to day tasks of our own little world. We observe people doing things for others, but we often fail to see what others do for us. They are busy doing this and that and it seems it’s always for someone else.

    We feel if you’re busy helping others, then you won’t have time to take care of what we need you to do. If you search inside, you’ll find this to be true. It’s certainly true that at times we are oblivious to what others are doing for us. We just don’t think about it, even though we see it with our own eyes, every day. Sometimes we need to take a moment to think about what others are doing for us.

    Think about an American teacher named Moina Bell Michael and a Frenchwoman named Madam Anna Guerin. Respectively they are known as the American Poppy Lady and the French Poppy Lady. I found it interesting how two ladies an ocean apart could feel so strongly about what others have done for them and then have similar reactions in response.

    Both women are responsible for encouraging others to use the red Flanders poppy as a way of remembering those who suffered in war. Through their efforts, the red poppy has become the symbol of remembrance we know so well today. On Veteran’s day, everywhere, the red poppies are sold for a dollar each in support of our veterans. I have two hanging from the sun visor in my truck.

    Both women were inspired by a lovely poem written by John McCrae in May of 1915 entitled, “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
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    John McCrae 1915


      • Kat

      • October 18, 2014 at 8:11 am
      • Reply

      Oh Donald this is absolutely lovely. I had no idea the history behind the poppy. My Great Grandmother rest her soul. Always had them about her house in a reverent manner and always not so far from a set of rosaries. As a child I knew they were important meant something reverent but never knew exactly what. Thank you for such a lovely piece. It brought a smile to my heart.



    • You have a beautiful soul, donald. 🙂



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