HONOURING A REMARKABLE ONTARIO MD, POET, WWI SOLDIER, CANADIAN: DR. JOHN MCCRAE
More than 103 years after writing In Flanders Fields, Dr. McCrae’s poem remains an integral part of Remembrance Day ceremonies around the world. Remembrance Day ceremonies today will mark 100 years since the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War. We honour Dr. McCrae and all of the brave Canadian soldiers who fought to defend the freedoms we are all privileged with today. ——————-
“Dr. McCrae was born in Guelph, Ontario in 1872. One of three children, he got from his mother his love of literature...McCrae went to the University of Toronto and was the first student from his high school to get a full scholarship... After graduating, McCrae worked as the resident house officer at the Toronto General Hospital, and in 1899 he interned at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
During the First World War, he treated injured soldiers inside dingy, tiny, poorly lit dressing stations, earthen bunkers dug into the side of a hill. Against this backdrop and out of grief over the death of his friend, McCrae, 42, wrote a poem in about 20 minutes as he took a break between surgeries. In one account, he was spotted sitting at the back of an ambulance as he sketched out the poem, looking toward Helmer's grave and the poppies that grew easily in the war-torn landscape.
More than 103 years after its writing, the poem is an integral part of Remembrance Day ceremonies. Around 66,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were killed in the First World War, while more than 172,000 out of the 650,000 men and women who served were wounded, according to Veterans Affairs Canada.
McCrae himself wouldn't live to see the end of the war. ‘Canadians know the poem and they may have heard the name John McCrae attached to it, but they don't know anything about this incredible man and great Canadian who wrote this poem. He had such a remarkable life.’” -CBC News
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