Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Poppies…

were being distributed this morning outside of Union Station by some wonderful volunteers..."Get Your Poppies! Support Our Veterans!" they were calling out as I walked through the station's doors.

I was not familiar with the history of the "red poppies" so I did some quick web searching and found this (hopefully accurate) story…

"In 1915, inspired by Canadian John McCrae's poem..

In Flanders Field

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.

American, Moina Michael, replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red,
that grows on fields where valor led.
It seems to signal to the skies
that blood of heroes never dies.

Moina then conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.

Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.”

What followed in that article was very disturbing to me, but seemingly so true:

“Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades.”

Memorial Day is a great day to gather with family and friends, but let us NEVER forget that Memorial Day is ONE SPECIAL DAY set aside to honor the soldiers who paid the ultimate price, thus allowing us to gather in peace on that day and every other day of the year!

Proudly Fly Our Flag, Salute, Be Thankful and Cheer!

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