GUELPH, ON, Nov. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the 11th Field Artillery Regiment (RCA) unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate the distinguished soldier, physician and poet John McCrae.
The unveiling took place at the Guelph Armoury in Guelph, Ontario and featured a video historical address by renowned Canadian historian Jack Granatstein.
The plaque reads as follows:
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN MCCRAE, 1872-1918
The distinguished soldier, physician and poet was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario. John McCrae graduated from the University of Toronto in medicine, practised as a pathologist and taught medicine at McGill University in Montreal. In 1899, he served in the South African War as an officer with the Royal Canadian Field Artillery. At the outbreak of the First World War, he re-enlisted with the 1st Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, as its Medical Officer. In 1915, contemplating the poppies growing amid the death and devastation at Ypres, Belgium, McCrae drafted the poem In Flanders Fields in memory of the dead. The poem appeared in Punch magazine that December and quickly became popular. Lieutenant-Colonel McCrae then served at No. 3 Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne as the Officer in Charge of Medicine. In January 1918, he died after contracting pneumonia and meningitis. McCrae is buried in Wimereux, France. McCrae's poem eventually inspired the use of the poppy internationally as an iconic symbol of remembrance.
On November 11, the Ontario Heritage Trust will dedicate the plaque during John McCrae Public School's annual Remembrance Day ceremony. Following the ceremony, the plaque will be permanently installed at the entrance gates to the John McCrae Memorial Gardens and Cenotaph.
"It is an honour for the Trust to commemorate John McCrae, whose poem In Flanders Fields illustrated the grim realities of the battlefield and expressed the sense of loss and profound grief. McCrae's words are not lost on Canadians as we will always remember the brave Canadian men and women who have served our country."
– Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman, Ontario Heritage Trust
"John McCrae's legacy will live on forever through the verses of In Flanders Fields, a poem that is as compelling to Canadians today as it was during World War I. This new provincial plaque will help generations remember McCrae as a brave physician and soldier whose words inspired the use of the poppy as an international symbol of remembrance."
– Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
"In Flanders Fields is an iconic Canadian poem written by Colonel John McRae, a military doctor and artillery commander, in response to the loss of his friend during the First World War. The sentiment of the poem and its reminder of the cost of service still resonate today. I'm pleased that the Ontario Heritage Trust is honouring Col. John McRae for his service to his country and his ability, through his poetry, to touch generations of people around the world with his words"
− Liz Sandals, Member of Provincial Parliament for Guelph
- The plaque will be permanently displayed at the entrance gates to the John McCrae Memorial Gardens and Cenotaph on November 11, 2014.
- The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.
- Since 1956, over 1,250 provincial plaques have been unveiled.
The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.
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SOURCE: Ontario Heritage Trust
For further information: For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Natasha Williams at 416-325-5074 or [email protected]; Ontario Heritage Trust, 10 Adelaide Street East, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1J3, Telephone: 416-325-5000, Fax: 416-314-0744, www.heritagetrust.on.ca, www.facebook.com/ontarioheritagetrust, www.twitter.com/ONheritage