Saturday, May 24, 2014

Poppies for Memorial Day

In May of 1915, during the First World War, Lt. Colonel John McCrae presided over the funeral of a friend, a fellow soldier killed in the war. He was inspired to write "In Flanders Fields". Moina Michael was so moved by the tribute that she purchased a bouquet of poppies and handed them out to businessmen meeting at the New York YMCA where she worked. This was in November 1918, after WWI had ended. She later led a campaign that resulted in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

Each year for Memorial Day and Veterans' Day, the American Legion Auxiliary gives out paper poppies in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. When you see that nice lady standing outside the bank with a bouquet of "fake flowers," be sure to stop and give a donation. Our veterans, past and present, deserve all the support we can give.
(information posted above taken from the American Legion Auxiliary website)


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.

- Lt. Col. John McCrae

Technically, this is the wrong kind of poppy; these are Iceland Poppies. In Flanders, they would've been Oriental Poppies (red with a black center). But this is my own photograph of poppies we grow & sell. They seem a fitting tribute despite their color.

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