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Listen to Leonard Cohen Recite Veterans Day Poem ‘In Flanders Field’ (Video)

The ”Hallelujah“ singer died this week, but his baritone voice lives on in this tribute to fallen soldiers

Friday is Veterans Day in the U.S., an official holiday honoring Americans who served in the military on the anniversary of the World War I armistice with Germany on Nov. 11, 1918.

This year it also falls just after Canadian-born “Hallelujah” singer Leonard Cohen died in his Los Angeles home at age 82.

Referred to as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day in the U.K., Australia and Canada, Nov. 11 is when volunteers distribute the Royal British Legion’s iconic paper poppies to raise money for veterans and the Armed Forces community.

The poppies refer to a classic wartime poem titled “In Flanders Field,” by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it after a friend died during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 in Western Belgium, and McCrae observed red poppies growing over the graves of fallen soldiers — offering a bright red glimmer of hope during a dark time.

The poem has since become a much-cited Remembrance Day tribute and the poppy is now one of the world’s most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict.

Which brings us back to Leonard Cohen, the iconic vocalist and poet who was born in Quebec, where Poppy Day is celebrated.

Last year, he recited “In Flanders Field” for Legion magazine in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the poem.

Watch the video below to listen to Cohen’s famous baritone voice read out the stirring poem over chilling images from the First World War.