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.
– Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.
The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.
Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.
May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace… Who brought a sword.
– Joyce Kilmer
After three days of speeches at the conservative cattle call that is the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC), one presidential candidate stood out in an already crowded Republican field of hopefuls: neurologist-turned-politician Dr. Ben Carson.
Carson, who announced his candidacy for the White House earlier this month, emerged victorious at the SRLC’s closing straw poll, drawing just over a quarter of the votes.
Considered an early indicator of southern primary voter support, the conference straw poll is also the first in the election cycle. A win in this contest, however, does not always guarantee a strong showing in Republican primaries: In the 2011 straw poll, for example, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul won by a margin of nearly 15 percentage points over former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
At this year’s SRLC, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished in second place, currying favor with just over 20 percent of the crowd. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz followed with 16.6 percent of votes. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in fourth at 5.3 percent, with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry trailing close behind with 5 percent of votes.
The conference kicked off Thursday in Oklahoma City with numerous conservative superstars on its lineup. Though several senators – and likely presidential candidates – were scheduled to speak, some were not in attendance because of Friday’s prolonged Senate session. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio both addressed the Republican crowd via taped messages, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
About 1,500 eligible voters from across 25 southern states took part in the conservative confab, according to event organizers. Just under two-thirds of the registered attendees voted in the straw poll.
Full SRLC straw poll results:
Dr. Ben Carson: 25.4%
Gov. Scott Walker: 20.5%
Sen. Ted Cruz: 16.6%
Gov. Chris Christie: 5.3%
Gov. Rick Perry: 5.0%
Gov. Jeb Bush: 4.9%
Sen. Rand Paul: 4.1%
Sen. Marco Rubio: 4.1%
Gov. Bobby Jindal: 4.1%
Carly Fiorina: 2.7%
Gov. Mike Huckabee: 2.7%
Sen. Rick Santorum: 1.9%
Donald Trump: 1.2%
Mark Everson: 0.8%
Sen. Lindsey Graham: 0.5%
Gov. John Kasich: 0.2%
Gov. Jim Gilmore: 0.0%