Memorial Day - When I was a girl the little paper flowers, sold for a dollar by VFW and AL, were part of the Memorial Day excitement for me ! The music and marching bands were nice of course, and the gathering of family and picnic later, but for a LITTLE person, the special LITTLE poppies and forget-me-nots won the moment, for a moment, off and on, all day long and sometimes saved in my room at day's end. My seven Irish Uncles..all proud AL members after WWII , would smile at me and call me "Miss Memorial Day" - I was six. Fairfield was nickname heaven and one more nickname was fine with me. I smiled back, and hugged.
Later I learned, as I honor, with pride and sorrow, the passing of loved ones - the idea was no accident but inspired by Flanders Field in WWI - here is a brief account http://www.mcall.com/opinion/white/blog/mc-memorial-day-poppies-20170526-story.html
"In Flanders Field "
by Col.John McCrae of the Canadian forces, before the US entered WWI.
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.
Quoting from the article:
" In this century alone, more than 619,000 American men and women lost their lives in armed conflict while fighting for their country. More than 1.1 million were wounded -- many of them maimed or disabled for the rest of their lives. These men and women were our neighbors, our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives. Thirty-five million more Americans served, fought and survived this century's wars.
Buy a poppy - and support all those who served and are no longer with us. Exult - rejoice - they were proud to serve and served well and As Lincoln declared at Gettysburg, gave "the highest measure of devotion". Love - all love - is risk and challenge, and sometimes the pain of injury or loss - not just kisses, parties and parades. Ohhhhh but worth it!
story credit: Bill White, The Morning Call, Saturday May 26th 2018