The year 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the poem In Flanders Fields, which was written by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae amid the horrors of the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915. Through his hauntingly poignant poem, McCrae succeeded in giving a voice to the 60,000 Canadians who would lose their lives in the First World War, and ignited an international effort to keep their legacy alive. To mark this anniversary, this fine silver coin is a solemn remembrance of those who bravely served their country abroad in a time of war–lest we forget.
The reverse design by Canadian artist Tony Bianco masterfully combines vibrantly coloured enamel with finely detailed engraving to create a stirring scene of remembrance. Like a quiet moment that is frozen in time, two Canadian soldiers stand on either side of a makeshift grave to mourn a fallen friend and fellow soldier, who lies buried far from home. With his head bent down and dress cap removed, one solemn soldier stands to the left of the stone grave; on the right side of the image, an armed soldier is seen in side profile with his rifle pointed downwards. These two soldiers would be among the many who helped carry the legacy left behind by the fallen, as prompted in McCrae’s poem: “take up our quarrel with the foe; / to you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high.” The background is filled with an enlarged poppy, which was forever immortalized by In Flanders Fields; here, this powerful symbol of remembrance adds a rich vibrancy to the design with its deep, red colour.
A striking collectible for commemorators, and a prestigious addition to any Canadian military- or history-themed collection.