Canada Post honors historic poem and author with stamp

“In Flanders Fields” was written by Canadian physician Lt. Col John McCrae on May 3, 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres in World War I. This battle, which took place in western Belgium, led to over 100,000 casualties on both sides. The sheer amount of carnage, and the death of a friend led to McCrae writing this historic poem. The second line of the poem holds special significance, as it reads, “Between the crosses, row on row.”  Approximately 61,000 Canadian soldiers were killed during the war.

However, the poem was not published until December 1915, in England’s Punch magazine. The poem has since become one of the most quoted and important works of literature from World War I. The poem is now being remembered by Canada Post, as the postal delivery service issued a stamp to honor the 100th anniversary of McCrae’s writing.

In a statement, Canada Post CEO and president Deepak Chopra said, “This poem is written indelibly on our hearts in a way that helps us honor those who gave their lives in the service of this country.”

The stamp, Chopra believed, serves as a bond between Canadian generations.

“Between the crosses, row on row.”

Images of remembrance
The stamp was designed by Janice Carter and Tejashri Kapure of the Toronto-based q30 Design. The stamp features many images from the poem, most notably the rows and rows of graves. A soldier’s silhouette is in the foreground looking toward the graves and three flying, singing, larks are depicted in the upper-left of the stamp. The Royal Canadian Legion also gave permission to include a red poppy, a reference to the red poppies that grew over soldiers’ graves.

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, is responsible for overseeing Canada Post. She described McCrae and the poem as national treasures.

“The poem has become an emotional touchstone as a means of remembering the sacrifices of those who served so that we may be free,” she added in a statement.

This is not the first time McCrae has been honored with a special stamp. In 1968, 50 years after McCrae died due to pneumonia, Canada Post’s precursor, the Post Office Department, issued a special stamp to pay tribute to McCrae.

The stamps are available in booklets of 10, and a special five-stamp mini pane collection features the poem written in McCrae’s handwriting.

For companies utilizing Postal address software, the stamp can serve as a way to connect with customers and to also pay homage to an important piece of writing.