Natasha Oakley - British Romance Author

Writer of tug-at-the-heartstrings, feel-good romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We will remember them ...

Here in the UK it's Remembrance Day or, more colloquially, Poppy Day.

At 11am on the 11th November 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent for the first time in four years. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we take a couple of minutes to remember all those who have given their lives in conflicts around the world.

And we all wear poppies as a sign of our remembrance - sold by the Royal British Legion. It has to be one of the most evocative images.

Poppies only flower in rooted up soil. Amid the devastation that was Flanders (the name of the whole western part of Belgium) it was the one thing that survived. The poppy, flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, came to symbolise hope.

And it was the inspiration behind John McCrae's stunning poem, 'In Flanders Fields', written the day after one of his closest friends was killed. His grave, like the thousands of others, decorated with only a simple wooden cross had wild poppies growing beside it.

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.


  • At 10:16 am, Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said…

    A beautiful post Natasha, thank you.

    Sue :-)

  • At 12:52 pm, Blogger Jessica Raymond said…

    Very touching, Natasha. I've been watching the ceremony on BBC today. So many things are about it are moving -- the list is too long -- but one of the things that stuck in my mind was that the Royal British Legion says there are a thousand ex-servicemen sleeping rough on the streets of London every night. In order to help them the RBL needs £75 million a year to do its work. They receive only a third of this from annual poppy sales...

    Jess x

  • At 12:06 am, Blogger allyblake said…

    That poem... boy oh boy. It made me cry! Thanks for the history lesson Natasha, this stuff always gets me right where it ought.


  • At 3:56 pm, Blogger Natasha said…

    History came alive to me when I realised it was all about people. People who'd loved and were loved. Sometimes you wonder how they managed to endure the times they were confronted with.

  • At 9:14 pm, Blogger Anne McAllister said…

    Thanks, Natasha. Your post was a beautiful reminder of the sacrifice made by so many for those of us who, but for them, might not know the lives we enjoy today. Bless their hearts.


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