Sunday, 23 August 2009
Watch CBS Videos Online
Click on the video above for an affecting piece from CBS about the graves of American servicemen who were killed fighting in Belgium during the Great War. (A shame about the prefatory advert...) Lines from the Canadian poet John McCrae's 'In Flanders Fields' are heard twice.
Should the whole poem be read at commemorative events? McCrae's final stanza is an appeal from the dead for the living to keep fighting: 'Take up our quarrel with the foe'. Failure to do so would be an act of 'break[ing] faith with us who die'. That is, McCrae has recruited the dead to promote his belief that the War must be fought to the end, and that peace would constitute a betrayal of fallen colleagues. It is a brilliant piece of propaganda, lulling its audience with the rondeau's repetitions and pastoral imagery, before sneaking its strident politics into a suitably sonorous conclusion.