Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I won't be posting this Memorial Day (though I won't tell you where I'll be as it has it's own meaningful attachment to the day) so I thought I'd get these thoughts down now.

I think our VFWs are so underrated in their support for each other and for our current troops. Last weekend I bought my annual (paper) poppy and thought to go back and get one for V too. I shared that with the kind VFW lady, who looked at me funny for rushing right back as though I'd forgotten something important, and she passed along the most hearty THANKS to V I think I've ever gotten.

Maybe it was her shining eyes or her bright smile that blossomed when I shared with her that my girl is an Airman. Maybe it was my own pride shining there in that brief interaction.

And maybe it's just me, but nearing every Memorial Day I can't help but hear the poem, Flanders Fields by Canadian, John MacRae. For me the song starts playing in my head the moment I see those paper poppies sold by the VFW.

Wonder how many people don't know why they sell poppies.....

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.

Canadian poet John McCrae was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there. It created a great sensation, and was used widely as a recruiting tool, inspiring other young men to join the Army. Legend has it that he was inspired by seeing the blood-red poppies blooming in the fields where many friends had died.

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