Poppies have become a symbol of remembrance of those who died for America, thus being worn on Memorial Day, the day of remembrance for the US. (See the following blog post for a small history of Memorial Day.)
The bright red poppy is actually a weed and was known, variously, as the corn poppy, red poppy, corn rose and Flanders poppy (from the field it grew in). It became the inspiration for the poem, In Flanders Field, reprinted below. Poppy seeds only germinate when disturbed. Apparently, the war-torn, lime covered land, created ideal conditions for the poppies to grow and bloom.
The idea to wear poppies was inspired by an idea by Mona Michael, an American, in 1918. Michael was so impressed by John McCrae’s poem she decided she would wear a red poppy every day in remembrance of the sacrifice soldiers made.
Michael’s original design and idea for the poppy called for the poppy to be the color of the flags of the Allied forces, entwined around a torch. Sadly, that design didn’t prevail. In 1921, a French woman, Anna Guérin, began a campaign, too, using a single red poppy, and her concept immediately caught on.
Citizens of the US wear a poppy on Memorial Day in remembrance, whereas other Allied countries’ citizens wear theirs on November 11th, which is known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.
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.
I compiled my information from the following websites: https://www.maritime-executive.com/features/the-poppy-a-symbol-of-memorial-day, https://www.history.com/news/world-war-i-poppy-remembrance-symbol-veterans-day, https://www.legion.org/poppyday/history.
Yesterday was a surreal day. In addition to the normal ups and downs of life, especially now, within certain confines of COVID-19, it was the 5th anniversary of my baby brother’s passing.
In so many ways, I still have not really grasped that he is no longer here. Logically, of course, I know he is not. At times, I still think, “Oh, I need to tell him this or show him that,” only to have grief slap me HARD in the face when I realize he is gone. The oddest, strangest reality is that I think of him most in the early morning when I am preparing for my day. I cannot tell you how often I am crying while I am showering, and sometimes I realize I am crying without even knowing I started.
He was bigger than life, a scrapper and fiercely protective of his family and those he held dear. He could sell anything to anyone and leave them grateful for the purchase. He was also one of the biggest practical jokesters-and no one was off limits!
His passing was totally unexpected. No one, even his Dr, knew he had a congenital heart condition that sat silently waiting. Though this was the hardest thing I have experienced in my life thus far, there are several things I am thankful for, too. I am thankful my parents, especially my Mom, predeceased him. I am thankful that he was a born-again believer in Christ. I am thankful that I KNOW I will one day be reunited with him in heaven. I am thankful I had a part in raising him, watching him grow and loving him. I am thankful I knew him. I am thankful he was my brother.
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