But why was my attention called to the McCrae recording when it was, in Late June? Because when I looked for what the Americans were up to in June 1917, since they obviously were not on hand for the 2015 battle in Ypres, I discovered an important date I’d never have noted otherwise.
June 25th, 1917, was the date the first American troops embarked for France in World War I.
And Flanders Fields was germane. The Gilder Lehman Institute of American History tells us in their coverage of the poem that it had a distinct American effect:
“Ella Osborn’s 1918 diary provides insight into the experiences of an American nurse serving in France at the end of World War I. In addition to her notes about the men under her care and events in France, Osborn jotted down two popular World War I poems, "In Flanders Fields," by Canadian surgeon Lt. Col. John D. McCrae, and "The Answer," by Lt. J. A. Armstrong of Wisconsin.
“McCrae composed "In Flanders Fields" on May 3, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres, Belgium. It was published in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915, and became one of the most popular and frequently quoted poems about the war. It was used for recruitment, in propaganda efforts, and to sell war bonds. Today the red poppy of McCrae’s poem has become a symbol for soldiers who have died in combat.
In Flanders Fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place.
"The Answer" is one of many poems written in response to "In Flanders Fields”...”
Sleep peacefully, for all is well.
Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
With burning heart an oath we swear
To keep the faith to fight it through
To crush the foe, or sleep with you... In Flanders Field.
Apparently, Americans were inspired by and kept the promise made in The Answer.