Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Poppies as the Symbol of Remembrance Day

This and every Veterans Day I wish to thank all those who have served in pro-liberty armed forces around the world. Thank you and God bless.

Today those in Commonwealth of Nations countries will display red poppies as a symbolic tribute for those who fought and died in World War I and other wars. A lack of historical knowledge combined with being outside the Commonwealth has made the symbolism of the poppies a mystery for some.

The use of the poppy comes from the 1915 poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The poem mentions the poppies which were the only plant able to grow in the hellish landscape formed by trench warfare. A movement was started in part by an American, Moina Michael, with her reply poem We Shall Keep the Faith to wear red poppies in remembrance of the dead. This quickly caught on in Canada, France, and then the United Kingdom.

Today the red poppy is worn by all those who remember those brave soldiers who fought on Flanders and elsewhere, some never to return.

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.

We Shall Keep the Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

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,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Today is also St. Martin of Tours Day. He left the way of war for the way of God. May we all follow him one day.

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