Following World War I, the Commonwealth of Nations designated a day to memorialize those who had given their lives in “The Great War.” Armistice Day was created to remember the end of hostilities on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.” In the United States, this day has become known as Veteran’s Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate the service of all veterans.
Memorial Day, also known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday honoring those who died while in active military service. The origins of the holiday are widely attributed to women who, following the Civil War, decorated the graves of those who died in service with flowers and flags.
My grandfather was a US Marine who fought in the Korean War. As a loyal member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion he would take the grandchildren with him to distribute poppies every year in May. Following the publication of “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Col. John McCrae, the red poppy is used to symbolize the blood shed by soldiers who have fought and died during war. Every year as I donate to the Veterans distributing poppies at our local grocery store, I appreciate the tradition my grandfather instilled in us to wear the poppy in honor of the fallen, and in support of the living.
As we gather with family and friends to kick off the summer season, take a moment this weekend to remember the fallen and recognize families who were unable to welcome their veterans home. All of us at AgingCare wish you a warm and happy Memorial Day.
In Flanders Fields
Lt. Colonel John McCrae, M.D | 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.