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.

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go to
If the site is blocked go to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund The Wall That Heals or just search The Wall That Heals.
There is a list of Cities and dates that the wall will travel to.
It was pretty impressive and the Volunteers that are there to help people find names are great.
I also found out that there is another thing in Washington that I did not know about.
Possibly a few people here will be interested, and may qualify or know someone that does.
The plaque is
The In Memory plaque. It is dedicated to all those who served in Vietnam and later died from causes related to the war such as illness related to "Agent Orange".
Just this weekend a good friend buried her husband who had such effects. And in the 3 previous months 2 other friends lost their husbands and both of them were effected.

Aww, thanks for the compliments on my "run in" (pun totally intended) with one of America's hero's! I just found it so ironic it happened the week of Momorial Day. What a blessing I was graced with :0)

Thank you! While I knew the older used names for the two holidays and the difference between the two, you provided a wonderful sentiment. I appreciated it as did many others.

GardenArtist--You're most welcome. Thanks; I'm glad they both came home safely for their own sakes, and of course if it were otherwise I wouldn't be here (or at least be me, the value of which might be debatable!). I've never been in the service. If I had, it would have been toward the end of the Viet Nam era. FWIW I was the last group (year) to have the 2-S student deferment, but I had a high draft lottery number anyway. I sometimes wonder if I missed out on something, but my father used to say that "both your father and grandfather fought in wars, and that is enough" but unfortunately, as I have read, that out of the last 5000 years there has been only about 295 in which a war wasn't being fought somewhere. Of course there were a lot of horror stories that came out of Viet Nam as well as ambiguity from our government (i.e., "containment" as opposed to a decisive win) and mixed support from the public but I've thought of two positive aspects--I'm a naturalist, so perhaps I would have had some opportunity to explore and collect insect, rock and plant specimens there, and perhaps I would have ended up bringing home a nice Vietnamese girl. (As it is, I've been in Taiwan and S Korea along with other parts of the world, and have a Filipina girlfriend, so I guess these things have otherwise worked out.) However, I feel a special concern for maintaining the safety and freedom of Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan (but I'm too old now to do anything truly useful along these lines!) Of course during my father's military service Japan was the enemy, and he believes the bombs had to be dropped to end the war (and I guess he was right, but I've gotten tears in my eyes thinking about how many young Japanese women were killed).

Sorry if this is too long or divergent from the question!

Because of all these brave souls, we Americans live in a free country.

Whenever I see someone wearing a hat, vest, pin or whatever identifies them as a veteran, I shake their hand and thank them for their sacrifices that allow me to live in a free country.

I have had many a Vietnam Veteran get teary eyed at being acknowledged for their service, they were treated like the enemy when they returned home, which is so very sad as they were only doing what their country told them to do.

I love all of our Veteran's and their families for the sacrifices they have made for each and every American citizen.

I salute them all.

In Canada we still keep Rememberence Day on 11 Nov - we wear red poppies to show that we did not forget - those who are in attendance at the official ceremony leave their poppies on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier - this started a few years ago spontaneously & now is a tradition - in the U.K. their poppy has a small leaf on it

IN FLANDERS FIELD by Canadian Medical Corps John Macrea is sung as a song too here - if you can watch CBC.CA for the Ottawa Children's Choir at 11:00 E.S.T. as they sing it every year on 11 Nov. -

It might be good see what your allies in both wars do to remember their fallen - always remembering that we were in the war for years longer

I loved your story, Pepsee. My dad was a Marine in Korea. Thanks to all who share here for your stories and support. It's a tough day....

Bob, thanks for sharing that harrowing story. I'm glad for your family that someone discovered your grandfather but sorry to learn that he was a victim of the mustard gas attacks. It's hard to conceive of so much widespread use of gas, but it did happen, and unfortunately apparently still does, at least in Syria.

The P-38 was one of my father's favorite planes, with its characteristic Lockheed configuration. The P-51 and P-47 were also favorites. When I decorated his "medicine" box to keep next to his chair, I covered it with photos of the P-51 and P47, and maybe the P-38. He got military calendars from charities so we always saved those and tried to use them in some inspiring way.

So when he took his eyes drops, or checked his SAT rate, he could gaze at one of the pursuit planes on his "medicine" box.

Were you in the service yourself?

My maternal grandfather was in France in WW I, and he was a victim of mustard gas. He had been left for dead on the battlefield, but someone decided to make a "last run" just in case any survivors had been overlooked. My grandfather happened to make a slight move at just the right time that got him noticed (I don't know whether it was coincidence or if he was aware someone was actively checking for survivors), but fortunately he was retrieved and taken to the hospital where he spent several months before being sent back to the US. For at least a decade afterward he still had some lingering effects--sometimes his eyes would get red and he would get incapacitating headaches, forcing him to stay in bed. My mother recently told me that when she was a little girl, she told him "don't worry, Daddy; some day you'll get better" and eventually he did. He died when I was 30 and he had gotten over these symptoms by the time I had come along or at least old enough to have been aware of them. My father (his future son-in-law) had also described to me what had happened.

My father flew a P-38 in the Pacific Theatre (WW II), and during a particular mission there were American casualties. His fellows on the ground thought his plane had been the one that was shot down and burning so, as he had described it, they turned as "white as ghosts" when he showed up. They said "we thought you were dead" so my father gave one of them a punch and asked "does THAT feel like a dead man?" Unfortunately, he learned that a fellow flyer, who was a good friend, was the one who had lost his life. My father had the task of breaking the news to his widow, with the comment "remarry; this is what your husband would have wanted".

My sister proudly displays two (triangularly) folded flags, each inside its appropriately-sized triangular wooden display case, in her family room.

I loved the story Pepsee, thanks for being so gracious and kind! And thanks for the reminder and recognition of Memorial Day. I just told my young adult children yesterday about the great uncle none of us ever knew. He was a pilot shot down over Germany in WW2 and he was no older than they are now. His life was one they can’t imagine, very brief but impactful still

Wouldn't it be great if all of us gardeners planted poppies in remembrance? And they are beautiful flowers, so they'd make a lovely addition to our gardens.

Pepsee, I can only hope that the two seeming uncaring women were "just" burned out; I'd hate to think of a Veteran receiving such poor treatment by his family.

Grandma1954, I've only seen the Wall or the Traveling Wall in photos, never in person. It must be an overwhelmingly powerful experience.

Condolences to all our posters who've served, whose families have served, or who've lost family members to any war, that scourge of humanity, and hope that knowing your loved ones are being honored will comfort your souls.

Your story absolutely warmed my heart. What a great person you are to have treated him with such honor and respect... and to have stayed down on the floor with him. Beautiful. And what a clever person you are to have the wit and intelligence to exchange those VERY funny barbs with him. He won't forget you...

My Husband said it rather simply...
Memorial Day is for the Dead Guys..
Veterans Day is for the Living Guys...

I am off to see the Traveling Wall. The 1/3 replica of The Wall ..(Vietnam Veterans Memorial)
My Husband and I saw The Wall in Washington many years back and I can not begin to express how much it effected me. 2 friends just buried their husbands, both Vietnam Vets, my Husband is gone 2 years now (can't believe that!) and I feel this is one way to honor them. I happen to have some poppies in the yard in bloom I will pick them and bring them with me.

Thank you for clarifying the difference in the 2 holidays for those that didn’t know the difference. My family remembers and prays for my uncle who died during WWII, when his plane went down in the Pacific. His body was never recovered. Unfortunately we have no grave to have complete closure.
My mother with mild dementia just passed away. She is reunited again with her beloved big brother. She remembered him until the day she died.
I wish all the Gold Star families peace on this Memorial Day. Your stories and advice as we care for our elders has been wonderful.

What a touching and funny story, Pepsee. Thanks for sharing.

What a wonderful post! I just had an experience this week, that I'd like to share, as it touched me deeply.

While walking down the hallway, exiting the medical building with Mom, we see the doors open and 2 younger women and an elderly man coming in. One woman was pushing this very large man, who was holding a oxygen tank, through the doors. He was sitting on one of those walkers with the seat. She was struggling to get the walker over the metal tracking on the floor, for the automatic doors.

Mom and I stepped to the side to let them pass. The man was clearly embarrassed as he tried to use his feet to help get the walker over the bump. The exasperated woman snapped, "Get up!" He fumbled with the tank, some papers that were on his lap, a cell phone and of course the oxygen tubing. He looked like an uncoordinated little boy. Neither woman helped him, so I stepped forward to take his tank. The charming woman snapped "He's fine."

He managed to stand, fumble and shuffle, 2 steps forward then 2 steps to his right. I was shocked when the other women at his right , didn't even extend her hand to steady him or take one of the things he was holding! My blood was boiling.

She got the walker through. He took one step forward (by now his tube fell from his nose) he took that dreaded step to the left, to get back in front of the seat. His foot clipped the wheel and he began falling right towards me, kind of in slow motion, or so it seemed. I lept forward to grab him under his arms, but he was too heavy, so I went down with him. I had my pocketbook on my arm, a coffee in one hand and keys in the other. Coffee went all over as well as everything he was holding!

I didn't realize I was shouting... "No No No" as it happened. But realized it when an office door opened and people started running over. The two women with him NEVER made a move to help. To make it even more maddening, they were making loud aggrivated sighs, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes!

He was so very humiliated. My heart broke even more when they couldn't get him up. The nurse said they must call EMS to get him up. Do you know what one of his companions said? "Make sure they send extra man power." I WAS FUMING!

I said to him, (since I stayed on the floor with him) kind of jokingly, "If ya wanted to dance ya could of just asked." He said, "Betcha never met someone so light on their feet eh?"

What a great relief I felt! He was able to take it in stride and laugh!

There was a nurse trying to get his oxygen tank and hose untangled from between his knees, he turned to her and said "Ain't ya gonna by me dinner first?" We cracked up. I said, " Hope you weren't here to see the orthopedic Doctor." He said , "No, I was going to the VA."
I took his hand and said "Thank you for your service." He followed by saying, " Thank you for your support."

I stood to leave and said, "Nice bumping into you." ....Thinking I got the last laugh. He looked up and said loudly, " She couldnt help herself, she just fell for me." 😊

My world was made a little brighter this Momorial day, by one of our finest!

AgingCareCM, thank you for explaining the difference in the two holidays.

I hate to say it but I rarely paid attention to the two holidays because usually that was a regular work day for me, and for my sig other. Thank you for reminding me what Memorial Day is all about.

Your post is so poignant, so touching, and emotional, that it brought tears to my eyes.

I think I'll plant some red poppies of my own in my own garden as constant reminders.

Thank you for sharing the background information on these two holidays.

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