Guelph is know for many things, but one of the most honourable is the famous poet, the Honourable Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields”. On this 11th month, we remember those that came before us.
John McCrae was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario (1872) and died during the First World War in January 1918. The McCrae House, located at 108 Water Street in Guelph, is the birthplace of John McCrae (1872-1918), doctor, soldier and author of “In Flanders Fields.” John McCrae grew up in Guelph and attended Central Public School and Guelph Collegiate Institute. He later attended University of Toronto for his post secondary education and medical school. However, returned to Guelph for a period of time to teach English and Mathematics at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC).
There are many stories recounting when and why Colonel McCrae wrote the famous poem “In Flanders Fields”, but a great accounting of the events leading to this and his life can be found here in the Map Journal created by Guelph Museums:
The poppy that we wear in November for Remembrance day was inspired by the poem and the poppies that started to grow from the churned up earth of soldiers graves in Flanders (Belgium). A grave remembrance of life growing from death.
The well known poem written by John McCrae is often read every November to commemorate the end of the First World War on November 11th, 1918.
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.
Remember those that came before us and sacrificed so much to provide us with the freedom, peace and lives that we are able to enjoy today. Honour, respect and gratitude to all that provided this for us.
Lest we forget