Friday, May 28, 2010
Memorial Day - a way to remember our country's heroes who sacrificed their lives to allow us live a life of freedom. This day is dedicated to the military people who sacrificed their lives for the security of their countrymen.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we hold parades with bands, marching veterans and flags for our children. We come together as family and friends with picnics and cookouts. But let us remember to observe this day by paying homage to those who could not be here because of their sacrifice. Place flags in your yard, visit your local Veteran's services and witness the laying of the wreath. You will not leave without tears and a grateful heart.
If you see any soldier, sailor, airman or marine, stop and thank them for their continued service to you and this Country.
I remember two traditions our family followed. The first was the hanging of my father's World War II flag outside our house. My dad would hoist me on his shoulders while I placed the 48-star flag high on the hooks so it would wave proudly. The second was my mother taking us all to the local VFW to purchase Memorial Day poppies to wear. Some were fresh flowers and other times they were fashioned from brilliant red crepe paper... no matter how they were sold, we always bought them to wear while watching the local parade and attending the wreath laying service.
In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. I still have some of the red poppies made by the Disabled Vets that I wear every Memorial Day. I don't know if they still sell them, but this would be a wonderful tradition to start with your children and grandchildren. Create your own Red Poppy pin and wear it proudly over the Memorial Day Weekend to honor our fallen soldiers.
And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me - Lee Greenwood
Have a safe and thankful Memorial Day. Sea Witch