Hey, just popping in to share something special today.
It’s about Ieper.
Ieper is where I lost it.
And then I found it.
This week I went to Ieper, Belgium, the Fields of Flanders, where thousands of soldiers from WW1 perished. Their graves are beautifully maintained, and I spent the day walking through many of them.
I stood motionless at one grave in particular, and read the inscription of Eric Henderson’s grave. He died at the age of 21.
“Tread softly o’er my beautiful Eric’s grave, for a mother’s love lies here”
And then I looked up and saw my son, just a few years younger than Eric, standing still and paying his respects at another grave.
And then I lost it.
After crying for a while, I felt empty.
But then I found it.
I thought of all these young men who perished, far, far away from their families, so long ago, and perished for a promise.
I thought of their mothers, praying endlessly for their safety, with no word from the front line, until it was too late.
I thought of all the young Ukrainian men today, far away from their families, fighting for freedom.
I thought of their mothers, who cannot hold them and comfort them.
I thought of my Syrian friends, who have not felt their mother’s hug for many, many years.
Today is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, where we stop and honor soldiers who have perished everywhere.
In other parts of the world, it’s just a Wednesday.
But for many, a Wednesday that they are too far away from the ones they love.
This poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who was a soldier, a doctor, and a poet. He wrote this poem on May 3, 1915, while sitting in the back of an ambulance, after noting how quickly poppies grew among the graves of the soldiers – some of whom he had buried himself.
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.
Take a moment to count your blessings.
You might have more than you think.
If the hug of someone you love feels like a distant memory, I hug you today in my heart.
And every day thereafter.