Memorial Day

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

Being the daughter and wife of United States military veterans, I appreciate all the other families of our country’s veterans. With sadness and appreciation, I remember all the men and women who left home to serve our nation and never returned 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.
used by permission
Why the poppy?

In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soils of battle covered the poppy seeds , 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 .

In Flanders Fields

 This now famous poem 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 lossong the ones 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.”

poets.org

simple cross grave markers in a cemetery

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.

exploring the HEART of service

Dr. Aletha

On Memorial Day I went to  Angel Fire to see a brick

Since my husband is a Vietnam Veteran, I had ordered a brick engraved with his name to be laid on the walkway there. We wanted to see it, and decided to go on Memorial Day, to also join the special remembrance service they have on that day. 

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.

Since my husband is a Vietnam Veteran, I had ordered a brick engraved with his name to be laid on the walkway there. We wanted to see it, and decided to go on Memorial Day, to also join the special remembrance service they have on that day.

Here, in pictures,  is what we experienced that day . It was a chilly overcast day, but the rain held off until the ceremony ended.

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

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

Sharing the HEART of remembrance

Thanks for sharing the Angel Fire Memorial with us. Please follow Watercress Words where I always share the HEART of health.

Dr Aletha 

%d bloggers like this: