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.
– John McCrae
The poppy of wartime remembrance is the red corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas. This poppy is a common weed in Europe and is found in many locations, including Flanders Fields. This is because the corn poppy was one of the only plants that grew on the battlefield. It thrives in disturbed soil, which was abundant on the battlefield due to intensive shelling. During the few weeks the plant blossomed, the battlefield was coloured blood red, not just from the red flower that grew in great numbers but also from the blood of the dead soldiers who lay on the otherwise barren battlegrounds. Thus the plant became a symbol for the dead World War I soldiers. In many Commonwealth countries and in the United States, artificial, paper or plastic versions of this poppy are worn to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War I and other wars, during the weeks preceding Remembrance Day on November 11.
Poppies stand as a prominent feature of In Flanders Fields, one of the most frequently quoted English-language poems composed by front-line personnel during the First World War. It was written by John McCrae, a doctor serving in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, and appeared for the first time in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915.
[above information was found on Wikipedia]
Our schools are in session today, but part of the educational day will be spent remembering our veterans and the price they paid. At SnakeMaster’s elementary school, there is a morning assembly and reception to honor veterans. As they did last year, the school is participating in the collection of “sweats for vets” (new sweatsuits for veterans being treated at a nearby VA hospital) which will be presented as a gift from our school community.
The high school has a 90 minute program this morning at 9 o’clock, and H-J is ready to perform with the band. This program is repeated at 7pm for the community, which we shall attend as a family. The high school Veterans Club spends an entire year planning this event; tomorrow morning they will recap tonight’s program and begin work on next year’s program. This is a serious endeavor and a labor of love. Toward the end of the program, each Service’s Song is played and you are asked to stand if you –or a family member– have served.
I stand for my grandfather, a beloved WWII Navy Chaplain who served on the USS Intrepid,
my uncle (Army, Vietnam),
my brother (Marines, Operation Desert Storm),
and most of all, my husband (active duty Army for over 20 years).
The other side of the medallion says “Faithful to God, Faithful to Family, Faithful to Self” (a reference to the commitment ceremony we voluntarily attended before the deployment) and I am wearing it today, along with an artificial poppy and a yellow ribbon. These small tokens remind me not only of my family’s sacrifices but also those sacrifices made by all Service Members and their families — past, present, and future.
May you find a meaningful way to remember the veterans in your personal life and in your community. And if you see a veterans group selling poppies, please buy one today. Take the time to hear the stories and to say thank you.
Thank you, Hilary!