After a long, stormy winter, it’s finally here: The weekend that marks the beginning of summer, a time to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, barbecue, and get together with family and friends. As we take part in the festivities, let’s not let the days pass without giving thought to the real reason for the holiday.
If you see someone wearing a red poppy this weekend you will know that they understand the true meaning of the holiday. The red poppy, if you recall, has been associated with those who died during wartime since World War I. As a history buff, let me share with you what I know about how this came to be.
The red poppy is a symbol of recovery and new life. (Not one of blood, death or support of war.) It is the only flower that grew on the battlefield. The red poppy sprouted amidst the mud and the devastation, and it bloomed and flourished. That must have been something to see. So beautiful was the image that it inspired a Canadian soldier, Colonel John McCrae, to write his famous poem 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.
Make time this weekend to get out and watch a parade or participate in a memorial service with your family and friends. Visit a cemetery. When you meet a service man or woman or one of our veterans, greet them warmly and express your sincere gratitude for all they are doing to keep us safe and free. And if someone offers you a poppy, accept it and wear it proudly.
From all of us at Genesis10 to all of you: Have a safe and restful Memorial Day weekend.
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