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Abingdon in Washington County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Poppies

 
 
Poppies Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 6, 2022
1. Poppies Marker
Inscription.  Since World War I, the poppy has stood as a symbol of remembrance and pledge to never forget all who have fallen in war and military operations.

Prior to World War I, few poppies grew in the fields of Flanders which were located in Belgium and France. During the tremendous bombardments in this area, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing poppies to thrive.

The person who was more responsible than any other for the adoption of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a doctor serving with Canadian allied forces in Belgium during WWI. On 2 May 1915, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station after the death of a personal friend and former student who had been killed by a shell burst, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. In the nearby cemetery, he could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches. He spent 20 minutes scribbling 15 lines of verse in a notebook. A young soldier, delivering mail, watched him write. When McCrae finished, he took his mail and handed his pad to the soldier. Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae died while serving his
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country in France on January 28, 1918. He was 45 years old. Today, this poem is one of the most memorable war poems ever written.

An American teacher, Moina Michael, while working at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters in New York City in November 1918, read John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields which had been first published in a British magazine. She immediately made a personal pledge to keep the faith and vowed always to wear a red poppy of Flanders as a sign of remembrance and as an emblem for keeping the faith with all who died. On Veterans and Memorial Day of each year, military veterans organizations in the United States distribute a crepe paper poppy as a symbol of remembrance and tribute to all their fallen comrades. May we never forget!

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.

—John
Poppies Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, October 6, 2022
2. Poppies Marker
(looking northeast through Veterans Memorial Park)
McCrae, 2 May 1915

 
Erected 2007 by Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Abingdon/Washington County, Virginia, Inc.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicCemeteries & Burial SitesPatriots & PatriotismWar, World I. A significant historical date for this entry is May 2, 1915.
 
Location. 36° 42.329′ N, 81° 58.551′ W. Marker is in Abingdon, Virginia, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Lieutenant Billy Webb Avenue, 0.2 miles north of Cook Street. Marker is located along the Path of Honor in Veterans Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 425 Lieutenant Billy Webb Avenue, Abingdon VA 24210, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sons of the American Revolution (a few steps from this marker); History of Veterans Day (a few steps from this marker); Cold War (a few steps from this marker); World War I (a few steps from this marker); Women in Military Service for America (within shouting distance of this marker); The War on Terrorism (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War (within shouting distance of this marker); Medal of Honor (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Abingdon.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 13, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 14, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Apr. 18, 2024