Happy Memorial Day to each of you and your families. On this special day of this weekend, we remember the ultimate sacrifices made by the brave men and women in the United States Armed Services, recent and past, so that we can live in a safe, secure America, “land of the free and home of the brave.”
If you have young children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews, I hope that you will take a few minutes this weekend to explain the meaning and purpose of Memorial Day to them if you haven’t already. Below is a little more information about Memorial Day that I found to be very moving. I hope all of you have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.
Daniel L. Hightower, Lawyer
THE POPPY, A SYMBOL OF MEMORIAL DAY
The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day (not Veterans Day). The origin of the red poppy as a modern-day symbol of this day was actually the idea of an American woman, Miss Moina Michael. Read more about the inspiration for the poppy.
In war-torn battlefields, the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground is disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting during World War 1.
The practice of wearing of poppies was further inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae. He saw the poppies in burials around his artillery position in Belgium.
Today, poppies are both the symbol of loss of life as a symbol of recovery and new life, especially in support of those servicemen who were damaged physically or emotionally.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915
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.
Information from the Old Farmer’s Almanac
Founded in 1792