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The world we live in today forged in the trenches of the Great War

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row.

It was at the funeral of his close friend and comrade Alexis Helmer that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was first moved to write his (now famous) poem. At the time of writing he was physically and mentally exhausted, resting in the back of a field ambulance, shattered by war’s endless mud, blood and waste. Having survived 17 days of hell-on-earth in the Second Battle of Ypres, a grief-stricken McCrae was overwhelmed by the sight of red poppies growing amongst the field graves of the fallen.

That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

They say nothing prepares you for war; once engaged, the Great War set a new standard in killing efficiency and followed its own unimaginable and unstoppable course of destruction. Death was ever present; Ypres was certainly no place for reflection or sentiment. But for McCrae that single glimpse of life and hope in the midst of hellish nightmare awoke a spark of light. The rest is history.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were........

© Troy Media