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We Shall Keep the Faith – Memorial Day Thoughts

The poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” was penned by Moina Michael in November 1918 in response to her inspiration of the poem, “In Flanders Fields” written earlier that year by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.   Ms Michael made a personal pledge to “keep the faith” and hastily penned her response in poetic form on the back of a used envelope.  From that day she vowed to wear a red poppy as a sign of remembrance.

In 1922 the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) became the first veterans’ organization to sell the poppies.  In 1948 the United States Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3-cent stamp with her likeness on it.

We Shall Keep the Faith

Moina Michael

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that we have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

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Judy W Bell

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    Canadian soldier/poet/doctor composed In Flanders Fields in 1915, May 3, in Belgium.
    It was first published in England 1915, Dec. 8 issue Punch magazine. McCrae died in France of pneumonia 1918 Jan 28, buried Wimereux CWGC cemetery. Several Replies were published as America entered the war Easter 1917. Her last verse echoes the one by Lillard…

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    What caught Miss Michael’s attention in New York was a huge coloured advertisement in the current Ladies’ Home Journal, the poem long familiar to anyone following the war. Bauer & Black surgical supplies company used IFF – re-titled and errors in McCrae biography – and a painting by popular USA artist Philip Lyford.Doughboys
    rising to heaven vs the contemplative scene of 1915.

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