This is the weekend that maybe America will pause and remember her war dead. The brave soldiers that fell on the battlefield, that went down with their ship or their airplane. Not all of America's battles have been 'declared wars'. That does NOT make their death any less significant. They died for their country. Period.
In Flanders Fields
The original inspiration for veterans to sell paper poppies for Memorial Day came from the famous poem below, which was written by John McCrae in 1915:
In Flanders Fields
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.
In 1922 the Veterans of Foreign Wars became the first veterans' organization to sell poppies nationally for Memorial Day. Two years later their "Buddy" poppy program began selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.
My Uncle Jack was 18, laying in a bunk on the US New Orleans anchored in Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. He told me he was reading the Sunday funny papers when the bombs started falling. He lost a lot of his friends that day but he survived. He went on to retire 30 years later from the Navy.
My Father was in the 483 rd Army Airforce in WW2. He trained on the 'Memphis Belle' after she returned to the states from England. His crew was sent to Italy. He was crew chief on a B-17 called 'The Big Ass Bird'. After WW2 his crew stayed in touch and we received Christmas cards up until the day the last one of them died. My father died in 2000 and I received cards from his Co Pilot Don Bentzen up until last year. That is how close these men were. My father told me he felt like these men were his brothers even 50 years after the war. They had reunions in the 70's, 80's and 90's until there were non left. They ALWAYS remembered the ones that didn't come home. They talked about them with quiet voices and also remembered happier times, too. BUT THEY ALWAYS REMEMBERED.
May God grant peace to their families. May we NEVER forget the sacrifices they and their families made for our way of life.