In Flanders Field

In Flanders Fields In Flanders Fields In Flanders Fields

Or, We Shall Not Sleep

Philip Lyford was a well-known illustrator in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century.  His painting "Flanders Fields" was used—and possibly commissioned by—surgical supplies merchant Bauer & Black.  It appears on a Liberty Bond poster and a sheet music adaptation using the poem of Dr. John McCrae, a Canadian army medical doctor.

Though the poem was written in May 1915, and first published in Punch in December 1915, the poem took on a life of its own as one of the war's most popular pieces.  When the Bauer & Black advertisement utilized Lyford's art and McCrae's poem (albeit mistitled) in November 1918, it was to urge teh American public to further their sacrifices for the war effort.  Publishers had no way of knowing that even as the magazine was being delivered to thousands of mailboxes, an Armistice was being organized.

The Poppy Lady

Moina Michael was just 15 years old when she began teaching in Good Hope, Georgia, her home town.  When she was trapped in Europe at the outbreak of the war, Michael helped thousands of stranded Americans book safe passage back home.

After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Michael applied to volunteer with the YMCA Overseas War Workers, the only war effort that was open to a middle-aged woman.  The following year, she traveled to New York City to work at the YMCA Overseas Secretaries training headquarters.

On November 9, 1918, just days before the Armistice, Michael was on duty at the annual YMCA Overseas Conference.  A soldier gave Michael a copy of that month's Ladies' Home Journal.  Inside the magazine was a haunting image of ghostly soldiers, fire, and poppies, accompanying the poem "We Shall Not Sleep" by Col. John McCrae, M.D., in an advertisement for Bauer & Black.

Inspired, Michael jotted down her own poem, a response to McCrae's, and vowed to wear a poppy from that day on.  At the urging of others, she bought poppies and sold them, that others might also wear them in remembrance.  In 1920, the American Legion adopted the poppy as their official symbol of remembrance.

In Flanders Field