In Flanders Fields

You don’t have to be in Flanders very long before you start to breathe in the history of the area. Horrible things have happened in the fields across Northern France and Belgium, like the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Bulge. These are the kinds of things that hang in the air for centuries; they seep into your blood.

There is a famous poem written by John McCrae that is worth reading. Its also been put to music by my favorite band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

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

Take a moment to remember the fallen with us.

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58 Replies to “In Flanders Fields”

  1. My great-grandfather went with General Pershing down to Mexico to find Pancho Villa, then off to Europe in WWI. He had amazing stories of adventure in Mexico. Not so much in Europe. He didn’t talk about it. His little brother lied about his age to get in the Army and fight. Once in, my great-grandfather went to his superiors to let them know his brother’s real age to keep him out of Europe–for very good reasons. I was an adult when they both died, so I got to know their histories a little bit.

    Also, as a graduate of the University of Texas, I spent a little time at the Winged Victory fountain at the end of the South Mall under the tower. It was dedicated to students and graduates lost in the “Great War”. All of their names are listed in bronze. It’s extraordinary to think the fountain was erected with the belief that we’d just fought in the war to end all wars–that there wouldn’t be another.

  2. Wanting to ante up valuable social media etiquette here and leave real comments whenever possible. And that being said, it is at times challenging to disentangle the many dizzying Velominati posts, especially while zoned out on hydrocodon-acetaminophen with a broken clavicle. Frank, Oli, you’re both right-minded and wrong-headed to a certain degree (I guess). And I don’t even know how you two started — what the Fuck!!

  3. @frank

    By “here”, I mean the general area, I’m not intending to state the battles happened in Flanders themselves. The point is there have been some horrible, horrible things that have happened in the area, and the people who died in those battles, wherever they were, were often from Vlaanderen and so forth.

    It touches you in your very spirit. But thanks for the clarification on the specific geographic areas. That stuff is taken understandably seriously around here. The borders between Waloonia and Vlaanderen are more carefully observed than those between Belgium and France!

    Ritte Van Vlaanderen (ritteracing.com) is in that area — it must be !! Right ??

  4. The articles title and introductory sentence indicate the subject as Flanders, the edits help some but the battles chosen as examples remain to confuse the subject. That said, The discussion that has followed is the kind that makes a long boring group ride enjoyable with interesting conversation. Image being knackered as shit in some nasty crosswind and the guy next to you in the echelon telling stories either of themselves or for-fathers surviving war. That would rally some rule #5.

  5. Myself and the VMH were discussing the lasting legacy of the Great War while at Tyne Cot Cemetary last week. Very few if any survivors are still alive so we wondered how long governments will be willing to incur the cost of maintaining the memorials…and then we remembered that farmers are still ploughing up shells and other remanants of the war. It’s easy to forget that the locals have to live in the shadow of the Great War everyday and that is irrespective of the monumnents.

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