Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Poppies . . .

It's Veterans Day here in the U.S. There will be veterans today selling poppies today in the city - and probably at the train.  I get one from every veteran I see and I wear them proudly.  It's ingrained in me.  When I lived in Southern California I couldn't find any poppies on Veteran's Day.  I remember asking my mom to please get one for me and send it.

Today is also called or has been called Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, and Armistice Day. The latter was what it was called in the U.S. until it was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. The poppies are a symbol of the blood spilled and lives lost during World War I.  The armistice was signed early in the morning of this day in 1918, agreeing that hostilities would cease at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.  World War I was known as "the war to end all wars" or "The Great War."

In Flanders Fields was written by a Canadian physician - Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae - in 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 falling hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I will wear a poppy today in remembrance of those who have gone before.  I am thankful for them and their sacrifice, and I will think of them especially today -  at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.

I leave you with two tunes.  The first is On The Road to Passchendaele.  The Passchendaele Ridge was the site of the Third Battle of Ypres (the Second Battle of Flanders), one of the worst battles of WWI, from July to November in 1917.

The last is The Bloody Fields of Flanders

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