Rows of Crosses

I’ve been to Arlington National Cemetery. I’ve seen the Eternal Flame. I’ve seen the row upon row of crosses as they march across the grass. And I know that they represent a person who either served our country or died serving our country. For those of you who don’t know what the difference is, Veteran’s Day in the fall is in honor of every person who served our country in the military. Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives serving our country.  Memorial Day is for those crosses.

Every Memorial Day this poem reminds of those who lost their lives. It’s one of my favorites and my father, who was a veteran of WWII, loved it too. It’s ironic that it was written by a Canadian, but you cannot argue the truth and emotion of the words.

For those families who lost a loved one in service to their country, I thank you. This poem is for them.

In Flanders Fields

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.

I’m off to work. There is a big event at the cemetery today and you are all invited. If you come by, my boss will give you a hot dog and a bottle of water! (He’s in charge of the food tent again.) You won’t see me. I’ll be inside holding down the fort for my department so we don’t fall behind at month end and lending support to the receptionists by giving locations of graves to those who aren’t interested in the event.

Before I go, it’s never a Monday without Marcus so here’s a very solemn one. It just wouldn’t feel right to post a half naked one on Memorial Day. 🙂

Wishing you and yours a happy Memorial Day!

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6 Responses to Rows of Crosses

  1. marot says:

    I too have seen the crosses there at Arlington. It was when I was in the 8th grade & even I knew how special the place is. I want to take my kids there soon & show what it means to be free. I thank every veteran every day by knowing how precious a gift I have been given cause of those crosses.

  2. marot says:

    I too have seen the crosses there at Arlington. It was when I was in the 8th grade & even I knew how special the place is. I want to take my kids there soon & show what it means to be free. I thank every veteran every day by knowing how precious a gift I have been given cause of those crosses.

  3. Angel says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Lex. I wish I’d seen it yesterday. My uncle served 2 tours in Vietnam, thankfully he is still here. Not many people care about the blood that was shed for them. We’ll never be able to shed enough tears, give thanks, or realize how deep the sorrow for the ones who died will ever be.

  4. Angel says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Lex. I wish I’d seen it yesterday. My uncle served 2 tours in Vietnam, thankfully he is still here. Not many people care about the blood that was shed for them. We’ll never be able to shed enough tears, give thanks, or realize how deep the sorrow for the ones who died will ever be.

  5. jo says:

    Thank you, Lex, for that beautiful poem. I worked for a number of years at Headquarters Marine Corps and we were on the backside of Arlington Nat’l Cemetery. Everday I looked out the window and saw row upon row of white crosses…it was very sobering. Whenever someone was buried there, during working hours, the sounds of 21 gun salutes would rattle the windows and those given cannon salutes well, those shook the walls and floor beneath your feet. I remember the proud yet sorrowful feelings when seeing all those graves. We can never “payback” what all those “boys” gave for this country…but, we can remember and be sure that future generations know and that those brave souls are never forgotten.

    Thanks again Lex,
    jo

  6. jo says:

    Thank you, Lex, for that beautiful poem. I worked for a number of years at Headquarters Marine Corps and we were on the backside of Arlington Nat’l Cemetery. Everday I looked out the window and saw row upon row of white crosses…it was very sobering. Whenever someone was buried there, during working hours, the sounds of 21 gun salutes would rattle the windows and those given cannon salutes well, those shook the walls and floor beneath your feet. I remember the proud yet sorrowful feelings when seeing all those graves. We can never “payback” what all those “boys” gave for this country…but, we can remember and be sure that future generations know and that those brave souls are never forgotten.

    Thanks again Lex,
    jo