Speech team to reenact World War I poem

During the morning announcements over the public address system on Thursday, November 9, Tyrone’s speech team will perform the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, for all students at Tyrone Area High School.
Tyrone speech coach Richard Merryman said this about the team’s upcoming performance, “Our speech team decided to perform ‘In Flanders Fields’ for several reasons. First, in these day when our country finds itself plagued by a heart-breaking war in Iraq, we wanted to remember the soldiers and veterans from all wars. Second, we wanted to recognize the 88th Veteran’s Day holiday on Saturday, November 11. Finally, we wanted to recall that the beginning of Tyrone’s speech team stretches back across more than 90 years, to a pair of well attended school-wide debates between Tyrone and Huntingdon, during those opening years of World War I.”
Eighty-eight years ago, at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, World War I ended on what people now call Veteran’s or Armistice Day. Three years before the close of the Great War on May 2, 1915, a Canadian doctor named John McCrae witnessed the tragic death of his friend and formal medical student Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, on a bloody battlefield in France.
In the absence of a Chaplain, Dr. McCrae presided at the funeral of his fallen friend Lieutenant Helmer. The day after the funeral, driven to despair by his loss, this war medic vented his anguish by writing a poem, while sitting on the back of an ambulance and gazing at a nearby cemetery, decorated by yellow poppies. To this day, many veterans organizations use the poppy flower, made famous by McCrae’s poem, for their fundraising campaigns.
In 15 simple lines, Dr. McCrae penned one of the most memorable war poems ever written. Even as the war in Iraq appears nightly on news telecasts, this now ancient poem effectively contrasts the beauty of nature with the ugliness of war in verse one, flashes back to a peaceful past before the war in verse two and pleads with future soldiers to keep up the fight for freedom in the final stanza.
“In Flanders Fields” by Dr. John McCrae:
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 you break faith with us who die / We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders Fields.