Poppy Day is the major fund raising event of the South African Legion of Military Veterans and takes place on either the Saturday prior to Remembrance Day or on the previous Saturday, ie the first Saturday of November.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS by Lt Col John McCrae
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.
Lt Col John McCrae unfortunately did not survive the war, on January 28, 1918, while still commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne, McCrae died of pneumonia. He was buried the following day in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of Wimereux Cemetery, with full military honours.
Currently Poppy Day only takes place in a number of centres, ie Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.