...the most devastating conflict that the world had ever seen up to that point, came to a close. Total casualties were just shy of 50 million with deaths from military causes in the neighborhood of ten million or so. The war administered a shock to western civilization from which it has never recovered. But whatever the subsequent political and culturial implications of places like The Somme and Verdun on our collective memory, it worth remembering the very real suffering of the men fought and died there.
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.— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)