Veterans Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blowflanders fields
      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

 

During a conversation with a young friend of mine today he remarked that it was amazing that in his lifetime he cannot remember Americans wearing poppies like they do throughout the British empire. I was rather amazed at this because I remember every year my grandfather ensuring that the family had a poppy flower on their clothing. And then later, when it was found that the poppy was the primary source of hashish, an artificial flower. I still look for them every year to make sure I wear one in remembrance of those who had gone before and given their all.

You see, in 1919, after the end of the “Great War” President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th as a federal holiday to commemorate the armistice that was signed on 11 November 1918 and the peace that followed. The poem above comes from that war as a Canadian surgeon, upon seeing a friend dies from the fighting, penned the words.

Later, as more an more conflicts arose, the meaning of armistice day (or remembrance day) became less understood, the 11th of November became veterans day (which we still celebrate today).However, I cannot get over the words that were penned for Flanders Fields and choose to remember all of the fallen in conflicts around the world and hope that the blood red flower represents the last of the fallen instead of the future.

So, if you see me (or anyone) wearing a poppy on Friday, you will know that we remember!


One thought on “Veterans Day

  1. Hi Mike,
    This bring back so many memories from child hood. I remember vets selling poppies on the street in Lawrence, Mass. My folks always bought one for each member of the family and more importantly, the explained what the reason behind the poppies. Then Mom would recite part of the poem “In Flanders Field”. We had to memorize it in school, I think in the 7th grade. 2 Years ago, at a festival in Loganville, a young vet was selling poppies and I cried a little for joy that the vets were doing that again, Then I bought one and explained to Ian what it was for and recited a portion of the poem that I could remember.
    Thanks, Mike for this post.
    Janet

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