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 Laurie McGaw transports the viewer back to 1915 with an intricately engraved image that evokes the opening lines of John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields. With his helmet removed and head bent down in mourning, a lone Canadian soldier stands before a makeshift gravesite for fellow soldiers who were killed in battle; their final resting place resembles the Belgian fields near the Ypres salient, which provided the natural setting for McCrae’s haunting poem and contributed to the theme of the continuing cycle of life amid the devastation of war. To the left of the soldier, a large image of a poppy offers a close view of the flowers that have become synonymous with remembrance; these same wild blooms are also seen to the right of the soldier, emerging from the upturned earth to grow “between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place.” In the glow of the sunset, two birds in flight echo McCrae’s words: “and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly…”
A striking collectible for commemorators, a symbolic gift for those in the military, or a tribute to loved ones who were lost at war.