The Flower Of Remembrance…….


Remembrance Day2-5

Written by:  Catherine Sampson – Trillium Equine Complex

THE POPPY SYMBOL MADE FAMOUS BY DR. JOHN MCCRAE’S poem “In Flanders Fields” was written as he sat on the step of a horse drawn ambulance wagon after performing a burial service for his good friend and former student, 22 year old Alexis Helmer.  Helmer died the previous day during the Second Battle of Ypres. Dr. McCrae, the Canadian soldier and surgeon whose love of animals and his dedication to medicine, evokes strong emotion from those words written so long ago on the battlefield while honouring the sacrifice of his fallen friend.

Dr. McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario on November 30, 1872 and served in the Second Boer War in South Africa and subsequently World War I. His letters home to nieces and nephews were signed using his faithful mount’s hoof print and written in his horse’s name. Bonfire, the grand chestnut, carried him throughout the war; a gift to Dr. McCrae by his friend John Todd.

John McCrae died on January 28, 1918 from a combination of pneumonia and meningitis. His funeral was led by his steed Bonfire in the traditional manner of fallen mounted soldiers. Dr. McCrae’s boots were placed in the stirrups backwards.

So next time you place that poppy on your lapel, think of John McCrae whose poem inspired its symbol of remembrance worldwide.

*Of interest, read the story of Bonfire in the book “Bonfire – The Chestnut Gentleman” by Susan Raby-Dunne

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 

About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

One response »

  1. *on bended knee bows head in remembrance* Thanks Heather for this post. As a Vietnam era veteran I give thanks for those that have not returned from past wars. I am grateful to still be here and give thanks for my comrads that paid the ultimate price. It is a true blessing to have the privilege to be an equine steward and advocate…

    ~”Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of US 1953-1961 (1890 – 1969)~

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