Tag Archives: Memorial Day

“though poppies grow in Flanders fields”

 

In the United States,  the last Monday in May is Memorial Day, but it’s now become a  “holiday” weekend. The Friday of Memorial Day weekend is now observed as  National Poppy Day

In the early 1920s the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as the American Legion Family’s memorial flower. Today, it remains an iconic symbol of honor for the sacrifice of our veterans. ALA members distribute millions of poppies annually across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities.

 

 

armed forces emblems over a field of poppies

 

 

Why poppies?

I love the story of the poppies because it has a medical connection.

In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed of war.

Out of this conflict came a poem, from which also came the association with poppies .

The now famous poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by a Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae.

 

Dr.McCrae was an English and math teacher, as well as a poet, before he attended medical school. He moved to England and was practicing there when World War I broke out, and he was called to serve as a brigade-surgeon.

I suspect that as a physician, he was deeply  pained by  treating the wounded, and the loss of those he could not save.

“In April 1915, McCrae was stationed in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in an area known as Flanders, during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres.

In the midst of the tragic warfare, McCrae’s friend, twenty-two-year-old Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed by artillery fire and buried in a makeshift grave.

The following day, McCrae, after seeing the field of makeshift graves blooming with wild poppies, wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Field,” which would be the second to last poem he would ever write.”

(from John McCrae at poets.org)

 

 

 

 

 

In Flanders Fields

Dr. John McCrae, 18721918

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.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

The poppy is the official state flower of California.  Read 5 more

interesting facts about poppies. 

 

 

 

Welcome Home Heroes- military sign

Thanks to the support of generous donors like you, The American Legion can continue to provide much-needed assistance to our veterans, service members and their families.

 

 

 

You can  help deserving veterans by donating  at this link.

The American Legion 

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Memorial Day

 

Those we remember on Memorial Day

As the daughter and wife of United States military veterans, I appreciate all the other families of those who served. I am saddened to remember all the men and women who have gone to fight for this great nation and didn’t make it home.

 

We celebrate the unofficial start of summer at the end of May as a “holiday” weekend. However, Memorial Day is the day Americans set aside to honor those brave men and women who lost their lives while defending our freedom. It is our duty to honor their sacrifices, to pray for their families, and to bow our heads in recognition of their service.

The American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as a symbol of this remembrance.

We will never forget.

 

 

History of the poppy

 

In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed of war.

Out of this conflict came a poem, from which also came the association with poppies .

 The now famous poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by a Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae.

Dr.McCrae was an English and math teacher, as well as a poet, before he attended medical school. He moved to England and was practicing there when World War I broke out, and he was called to serve as a brigade-surgeon.

I suspect that as a physician, he was deeply  pained by  treating the wounded, and the loss of those he could not save.

“In April 1915, McCrae was stationed in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in an area known as Flanders, during the bloody Second Battle of Ypres.

In the midst of the tragic warfare, McCrae’s friend, twenty-two-year-old Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed by artillery fire and buried in a makeshift grave.

The following day, McCrae, after seeing the field of makeshift graves blooming with wild poppies, wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Field,” which would be the second to last poem he would ever write.”

(from John McCrae at poets.org)

 

 

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae, 18721918

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.

This poem is in the public domain.

Memorial Day-why I went to  Angel Fire to see a brick

The United States celebrates Memorial Day  on the last Monday of  May, a day set aside to remember people who died while serving  in the armed forces, although many families  use it to remember other deceased loved ones also.  Memorial Day 2014 was special and unique for me and my husband.

We had planned a trip to New Mexico, not realizing we would be there on Memorial Day. I was going to attend a medical conference and we also wanted to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire. The previous year, I ordered a memorial brick ,engraved with his name, to be laid on the walkway there. Our schedule was such that the most convenient day to visit would be Memorial Day. We didn’t know that the Memorial has a special observance there every Memorial Day; but when we found out, we planned to attend. Here, in pictures,  is what we experienced that day .

on the memorial grounds, the chapel in the background

on the memorial grounds, the chapel in the background

In the background, I am kneeling to view Raymond's brick

In the background, I am kneeling to view Raymond’s brick

inside the chapel, which is never locked; it is open for anyone to enter at any time

inside the chapel, which is never locked; it is open for anyone to enter at any time

presenting a flag and plaque to the family of a fallen soldier

presenting a flag and plaque to the family of a fallen soldier

music by a local military reserve unit

music by a local military reserve unit

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire, New Mexico

Raymond Oglesby with his brick

Raymond Oglesby with his brick

Raymond with the late Dr. Westphal, who founded the memorial in honor of his son who died in Vietnam (an old photo)

Raymond with the late Dr. Westphall, who founded the memorial in honor of his son David who died in Vietnam
(an old photo)