In Flanders Fields

In the USA we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a legal holiday in honor of all of our veterans who have served in the military, living or dead, current or past. Some restaurants offer a free meal for anyone in uniform or anyone who can show the ID that they were in the service. Of course there are also parades, speeches, prayers for the departed, and other patriotic events.

I remember when I was young that people wore red poppies that were given out by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on what was then called Armistice Day, in honor of the original reason for the holiday, the Armistice between the US, Britain, and France with Germany at 1100 AM on 11/11/18, the 11th of November of 1918, the end of “The Great War” or “The War To End All Wars”. The red poppies were worn because of a poem written by John McCrae in 1915 after a battle in The Great War. He had noted that poppies grew quickly around the graves of the fallen. For those who don’t know it, here is the classic poem.

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.

Whether you call the holiday Armistice Day, Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day, be sure to honor those who have served their countries, not only on the holiday, but every day of the year.

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