In Flanders Field the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row, that mark our places, and in the sky.
The larks still bravely, singing, fly, scarce heard amidst the guns below.
All of America’s war dead are not buried at Arlington nor in other national cemeteries here at home.
There are twenty five cemeteries and sites dedicated to our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen in other places, other countries. Most are burial grounds, but there are memorials that list 94,000 missing in action, including those lost at sea.
Some are from The Great War or, as we know it today, World War I. Our men, both Army and Marines, went to Europe under the leadership of General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing. The Allies wanted to assimilate our troops, but Pershing demanded and got a sector and soon the war was ended. But there were bodies left behind, in places like Aisne-Marne, Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry and Flanders Field.
We are the Dead; short days ago we lived, felt dawn,
World War II was most certainly an all-encompassing war. The combat spanned all continents except Antarctica, all oceans around the globe. Fighting was fierce, and for the first time there were heavy losses from the air. It extended into the islands of the Pacific, on the lands of Asia, to the frozen wastelands, and waters of the Atlantic. Our losses were heavy, but more cemeteries, more monuments, were dedicated and Americans were interred in the soil of other countries. Today there are tombstones in places like Ardennes and Brittany, Manila, and Margraten, and engraved on memorials alongside the shores of the oceans.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw the torch,
Be yours to hold it high.
Soon the wars moved into other lands, just as foreign, just as unforgiving: the Korean peninsula, the jungles, and mountains of Vietnam, the deserts of the East, and more places of burial for Americans. Now we were bringing home our dead, except for those Missing in Action.
But if you break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep….
(Note: The TIMES will publish next month, in Profiles in Courage, a story that will bring the writings on this page close to home, here in Jackson County).
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