In the spring of 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, a Canadian army doctor and officer wrote a poem that would become one of the most famous writings in military history.

Despite differing accounts of the circumstances surrounding the poem’s origin — some say author John McCrae wrote it for consolation following the death of his friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer, while others say McCrae wrote the poem to pass the time between treating patients — the poem struck a chord with its readers. Titled “In Flanders Fields” and published in Punch magazine in December 1915, McCrae’s stirring words would be an early indicator of the terrible cost to be wrought by the First World War.

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