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The poppy story
SoVaNow.com / May 21, 2014
Memorial Day, May 26, is just a few days away when many patriotic citizens will purchase and proudly wear the customary, bright red poppy in honor of the solemn occasion. Sadly though, far too many do not fully know this tradition, which honors our military men who made the supreme sacrifice.
The poppy is our way of showing respect and remembrance for all fighting men who have given their lives in defense of America. Originally, the poppy was to honor the veterans of WWI, but was made the standard symbol through a poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John M. McCray in 1915 about a cemetery in Waregem, Belgium, where 368 brave Americans are buried. The cemetery is Flanders Field, and the poem was widely known and read when most of today’s senior citizens were young and in grade school. Unfortunately, it has been overlooked during recent years, and for that reason I feel it to be worthy of repeating here today:
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
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 and with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
If you haven’t bought your poppy, please do, and put in a few extra dollars to benefit the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. The poppies are made by veterans.
May God bless those who gave their lives in defense, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
B. DALE WILSON