One hundred years after Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae penned In Flanders Fields on the battlefield of Ypres, Belgium, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued silver collectors coins commemorating the iconic poem which honours all those who risked or sacrificed their lives in defense of democratic values, and inspired the adoption of the poppy as a universal symbol of remembrance.
A one-ounce silver coin capturing the stirring imagery of In Flanders Fields was unveiled today with descendants of Lt. Col. McCrae at a special ceremony held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. A coloured five-ounce silver coin is also being issued to commemorate this milestone.
“No story is more symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice made in wartime than Lt. Col. John McCrae’s writing of In Flanders Fields, a literary tribute to fallen Canadian troops which gave an eternal voice to those who died in the fight for justice and freedom in the First World War, and every war which followed,” said Sandra Hanington, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.
“The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to produce coins to honour the contributions of Canadian forces throughout history and it is fitting that the poem which has remembered them over the last 100 years is forever preserved on exquisitely crafted silver collector coins.”
The Second Battle of Ypres, which began on April 22, 1915, is where Canada was first precipitated into combat as the newly formed Canadian Expeditionary Force successfully pushed back the advance of German forces after French troops were dispersed by the first gas attack in military history. With one in three Canadian soldiers killed or wounded in this costly counterattack, Lt. Col. John McCrae was moved to remember this incredible sacrifice by writing In Flanders Fields.
Canadian artist Laurie McGaw has designed a one-ounce silver coin with a $20 face value, dated 1915-2015, which thoughtfully captured the indelible imagery of a poem which Canadians still recite in memory of our fallen after 100 years. An iconic poppy, a Canadian soldier with his head bowed before row on row of crosses marking the graves of fallen comrades, as well as the horizon of the fields which gave the poem its name, powerfully capture the moment that Lt. Col. McCrae wanted the world to never forget.
An equally poignant image, embellished by brilliant touches of colour and the opening words of In Flanders Fields, in English and French, can be found on a five-ounce silver coin designed by artist Tony Bianco.
Both of these coins can be ordered by contacting the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or online atwww.mint.ca. The coins will also be available at the Royal Canadian Mint’s boutiques in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver, as well as through the Mint’s global network of dealers and distributors, including participating Canada Post outlets.