London, England

Friday, July 22, 2011

Honoring Those Who Fight for their Nation

On a recent visit to Westminster Abbey, I stopped to see the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.  The tomb honors those soldiers who died fighting against the Central Powers during WWI.  I learned a lot about the tomb from our tour guide.  First, it was the first such tomb honoring soldiers who never made it home.  Second, the tomb is the only one in all of Westminster Abbey that you cannot walk on.  Even during the recent royal wedding, Prince William and Kate walked around the tomb.  Finally, Kate’s wedding bouquet was placed on the tomb, following the tradition established by Queen Elizabeth in 1923.

The other thing that struck me was that the tomb is wreathed in poppies, a very traditional WWI remembrance and the only tomb or memorial so adorned in the Abbey.  The poppies reminded me of the poem by John McCrae, “In Flanders Field.”
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.

Listen to my podcast for more information about this touching memorial.

Heidelberg Orchestral - Nikko-Impossible Piano. Creative Commons License. Retrieved from

I referred to the following resources in the development of this podcast and blog.

chericbaker (2011). Unknown Warrior.  Creative Commons License. Retried from

Fact check:
Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey (2011).  Unknown Warrior. Retrieved from
Poem (97 words):
McCrae, John (1915). In Flanders Field. Retrieved from

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