Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2018, marked the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. In 1914, British writer, H.G. Wells (1866–1946) wrote, “This is now a war for peace. It aims straight at disarmament. It aims at a settlement that shall stop this sort of thing for ever. Every soldier who fights against Germany now is a crusader against war. This, the greatest of all wars, is not just another war—it is the last war!”
While his views proved idealistic, H.G. Wells was an influential writer and when the London Times published his, “The War that will end wars,” in 1914, his essay helped charge the Allied Forces to give their all in the fight against the Central Forces.
In 1914, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD was a first hand witness to the war’s horrific battlefields, to countless wounds of battle, and to the deep pain of loss. He wrote In Flanders Field, a poem that was first published in December 1915. His poem’s imagery depicts the reality of war in the life, the death, and ultimate sense of duty of a WWI soldier. In 1924, the US war department reported that there were more than 35 million documented casualties from this war.
Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery Association (SMVMCA) hopes to honor the memory of those who served in the Great War. Members of the Association raised funds to install a memorial to honor Veterans of WWI in the Southern Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, located at 83 Stanley Road in Springvale.
SMVMCA’s vision for the memorial stemmed from an idea for a poppy garden, influenced by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD’s In Flanders Field. With the help of some ambitious students from Sanford High School and from Sanford Regional Technical Center, the plan for a modest poppy garden has blossomed into a respectable monument.