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 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.
The name of John McCrae (1872-1918) may seem out of place in the distinguished company
of World War I poets, but he is remembered for what is probably the single best-known and
popular poem from the war, "In Flanders Fields." He was a Canadian physician and
fought on the Western Front in 1914, but was then transferred to the medical corps and
assigned to a hospital in France. He died of pneumonia while on active duty in 1918.
His volume of poetry, In Flanders Fields and Other Poems, was published in 1919.
AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION
FLANDERS FIELD AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL
The World War I Flanders Field American Cemetery and
Memorial lies on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem,
Belgium, along the Lille-Gent AutoRoute E-17. It is located 175
miles north of Paris, France and 46 miles west of Brussels. The
cemetery is within 30 miles of Brugge (Brugges) and Gent (Gand),
the two largest cities in Flanders. Waregem may be reached by
train from Brussels via Gent (Gand) in approximately one hour;
from Paris, Gare du Nord, in about five hours via Rysel (Lille) and
Kortrijk (Courtrai), and five and one-half hours via Brussels and
Gent. Taxi service is available from the station in Waregem.
The cemetery occupies a six acre site. Masses of graceful trees and shrubbery frame the burial area and screen it from the passing traffic. At the ends of the paths leading to three of the corners of the cemetery are circular retreats with benches and urns. At this peaceful location rest 368 American military Dead most of whom gave their lives in liberating Belgium in World War I. Their headstones are aligned in four symmetrical areas around the white stone chapel which stands in the center of the cemetery.
The altar inside the chapel is of black and white Grand Antique marble having draped flags on each side; above it is a crusader's sword outlined in gold. The chapel furniture is of carved oak, stained black and white veining to harmonize with the altar. On the side walls are inscribed the names of 43 of the Missing in Action who gave their lives in the service of their Country, but whose remains were never recovered or identified.
In the summer the cemetery is open to visitors daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and in the winter from 9:00 am to5:00 pm.