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In Flanders' Fields

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.

The poem was first published in England's Punch magazine in December 1915 and within months came to symbolize the sacrifices of all who were fighting in World War 1.

In 1918 Moina Michael, an American, wrote a poem in reply, We Shall Keep the Faith, in which she promised to wear a poppy 'in honour of our dead' and so began the tradition of wearing a poppy in remembrance.

It was French YMCA Secretary, Madame Guerin, who in 1918 conceived the idea of selling silk poppies to help needy soldiers.

Poppies were first sold in England on Armistice Day in 1921 by members of the British Legion to raise money for those who had been incapacitated by the war.

The practice began in Australia the same year, promoted by the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia (now known as the Returned & Services League of Australia, or RSL).

In the lead-up to 11 November each year, the RSL sells red poppies for Australians to pin on their lapels, with proceeds helping the organisation undertake welfare work.

Since 1921 wearing a poppy has enabled Australians to show they have not forgotten the more than 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have given their lives in wars and conflicts during the past 100 years.