in flanders fields

It was 95 years ago today, May 3, 1915, that Col. John McCrae sat in the back on an ambulance on the battlefields of World War I and wrote "In Flanders Fields." I love the story, here, about how the poem came about.

I decided to use the poem in Countdown, to showcase what I was trying to say about war, and to help characterize Uncle Otts, who is a World War I vet, living with Franny and her family in 1962. Uncle Otts still lives with the spectre of war, and particularly within the days he fought in the Argonne and was gassed in the trenches. This is the same battle that I write about in the biography of Harry Truman in Countdown -- every little thing in the book is connected, is part of the narrative, is part of the whole. 

Here I am reading "In Flanders Fields" at Bound To Be Read Books in East Atlanta last week.

Deborah Wiles Reads "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae from Jeff McCord on Vimeo.

You can find the entire "Thirty Days of Poetry" at Bound To Be Read at their blog link, here. I had such fun, and was so touched, as I scrolled through and listened to the poems different readers chose, and the voices with which they read them. My favorite has to be the last one, "Hungry Heart," written and read by Jef Blocker. Treat yourself. And then listen to "In Flanders Fields," to understand who Uncle Otts is, and why he wants so desperately to build a bomb shelter in Franny's front yard.

Tomorrow: Countdown's playlist!

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