Friday, May 28, 2010

Do you remember the red poppy?

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


Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

Thanks for those beautiful words. Living alone I guess I had forgotten that my father and one of my brothers had both served in the military. So tomorrow I am going through the family photo box and digging out both of their military photos and putting them up on my living room wall! Remembering with love and appreciation!

Beach House Living said...

Agree 100%, beautifully stated.
Too many forget "Freedom isn't Free"

Doris Sturm said...

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend - I'm staying home, out of the way and hibernate in the AC doing my crafts and watching Gizzy sleep...

Debby said...

This is a beautiful post. I am from Canada and wearing the red poppy is huge in our country on Remembrance Day! Thanks for sharing with us today. Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

Tristan Robin said...

wonderful post

I also remember the red poppies on Memorial Day ... we always got the red crepe paper ones, and we purchased them from veterans selling outside the grocery store.

have a lovely weekend!

Decorating With Art said...

What a beautiful post....thanks for reminding us. I'm going to paint some red poppies this weekend.
Have a great holiday!

Jacque said...

Good Morning Witch,

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours! Thanks for reminding us of a longstanding tradition. Yes, I remember the Red Poppies well. I had totally forgotten about that tradition and am not sure if it is still carried out around this part of the country today. I haven't seen anyone with them on or selling them.

I love Lee Greenwood's song...and also Johnny Cash's Flag song.

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful, thank you !!
We had our memorial days on the
4th and 5th of May. The 4th is a remembrance day for the people who died fighting for our country and the 5th is our liberation day.
I hope you had a great weekend.

paperbird said...

lovely images- wonderful thoughts.

Madame DeFarge said...

We do this on November 11th, so always forget that the US version is at this time. Thanks for the reminder.

Pam @ Frippery said...

What a beautiful post Dari! Thank you for taking time to remind us what this day stands for.

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful post. I loved reading it. Somethings we really need to be more aware of.
Hugs, Kathleen

Iona Hoeppner said...

As the mom of 6 past and present military men and women, and the wife of am Viet Nam vet, I was honored and blessed by this beautiful piece.

Also, I was amazed to find one of my graphics here, the one with the flags that says Memorial Day Never Forget Ever Honor.

I want to officially grant you permission to use this copyrighted image (which first appeared on my old domain All I ask in return is to know where you found the image.

I see many of my images floating around the web... and mostly I am flattered, but not always. I freely grant use to any good and wholesome venue but not for others to sell, nor use in an unpleasant way.

You many contact me at