Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

"What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world."
 - Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife, 1864

Red Poppy - Georgia O'Keeffe, 1927
Oil on canvas, private collection

In Flanders Fields

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.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Granary Burial Ground, Boston, Massachusetts


  1. Robert E. Lee is one of my great heroes. I look at his home often - the one at the top of the hill at Arlington, the home that was taken from him in the Civil War. What a frickin mess that war was. At the end of that war, when they met at Appomattox, everyone cried. I can never let go of that image, and when I think of it, I cry, too.

    Did you know that my shamanic name in the Feri tradition was The Gold Poppy. I received that name well before I began working with the dead soldiers. When I put it together, the name and my shamanic work - well - I sobbed then, too.

  2. Steven, I was stunned to read Gen. Lee's letter, too. To hold these sensitive moral feelings must make the anguish and horrors of war even more exquisite. It's unimaginable to me.


  3. Oh, Reya. What a revelation. It makes so much sense on every level, though.

    "Golden remembrance"...a perfect interpretation for your work with the fallen. Wow.

  4. Lt. Col. John McCrea was from Guelph, his family home is just 5 mins. downstream from my daughter Heather's family home on the Speed River. Griffin had his second birthday party in the park by the McCrea homestead. It's half way between the Holiday Inn where I stay when I visit, and Heather's house. I think of him and his poem every time I drive past.

    Being Canadian, I haven't studied American History in so much detail and I did not know that Robert E. Lee's house was on the hill over looking Arlington Cemetery.

    Thank you Reya for those sad, beautiful details and your work with the fallen.

    And... thank you to every person who puts their life in harm's way so the rest of us can live in freedom.

    I hope tomorrow we can all walk freely in the spring sunshine and feel at peace. Thank you for sharing this Jo.

  5. We owe so much to those who answered the call in wars past and present. I love the poem - learned it by heart as a child, as school children here still do.

  6. Linda, thank you for that information, which serves to show yet again how interconnected we all are.

    The history of Arlington is fascinating, and further demonstrates our connections to each other, even during war. To know that the home was tied to the families of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, and to read of both their devotion to it, it poignant.

    What a wonderful wish, walk freely in the spring sunshine and feel at peace. May it be so.

    Thank you, dear friend,

  7. Pondside, thank you. I'm in awe of the depth of courage and valor demonstrated by those who have answered the call.

    We can only pray that the causes for which they have died for so many generations are as moral and true as they.

    Today we remember them. ♥

  8. a beautiful and sensitive tribute, jo ♡

  9. Love the Robert E. Lee letter, romantic in such a sad way. PS. Were you in Boston recently? I am just looking at the Granary Burial Grounds pic - that is in my neck of the woods! :)

  10. Thank you, Aubrey...I agree, the letter is romantic and poignant. You can feel the longing in him for it all to be over.

    The photo was from a trip to Boston about two years ago. We walked the Freedom Trail and had an amazing time, though climbing Bunker Hill in 90+ temps was definitely NOT fun!

    You live in an AWESOME neck of the woods! ♥


Your visit makes my heart smile. Thank you.