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Archive for May, 2010

Take A Moment To Reflect This Weekend

Posted By Michael Roby | Friday, May 28th, 2010

This Memorial Day weekend, I hope you enjoy the time off, and relax with family & friends. But please remember those who served and made this holiday weekend possible for all of us. The following poem, written after WWI by a field doctor, tells of the cost and the reverence that should be accorded the memories of those young men and woman who have served this country. Remember also the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and all those who have lost one of their own. It should be noted that some people and nations want to destroy our nation. Take a moment to read this poem, reflect, and give thanks.

In Flanders Fields

By: John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.

Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

—————-
“McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:

Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans — in the Ypres salient.
It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

“I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.”

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae’s dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l’Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. “His face was very tired but calm as we wrote,” Allinson recalled. “He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer’s grave.”

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

“The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.”
In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

– From ArlingtonCemetary.net

Purposeful Client Events

Posted By Michael Roby | Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Traditional client appreciation events often are inexpensive banquets at best and poorly masqueraded sales seminars at worst. Either one can serve a useful business purpose, but consider hosting a slightly different client event – a event based upon “purpose.”

Recently I visited with a financial advisor in the mid-south who takes a novel approach to client events. This advisor sponsored a golf tournament; nothing unique about that. What made it unique was it was a charity event tied to a major national charity – The V Foundation. From the Foundation website: “It has been just 17 years since The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and Jim Valvano. And what significant work has been accomplished during that time! Since 1993, The V Foundation has raised more than $90 million and awarded cancer research grants in 38 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers have developed their laboratories and taken their science from the labs to the clinics with the help of funds raised by The V Foundation.”

The event was replete with unique gifts from national sports celebrities, creative hole sponsorships, and appearances by regional sport icons. Clients loved it, and the event drew a huge number of affluent prospects. In addition, considerable publicity mentioning the advisor’s name offered significant favorable exposure.

vfoundationlogoThis advisor used this event for a good purpose. A wonderful charity received tens of thousands of dollars, and the advisor is viewed as someone who puts something back into his community and society. Consider this type of client event next time you decide to host another boring chicken dinner.