Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day ~ Decoration Day

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. First enacted by formerly enslaved African-Americans to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.
Memorial Day honors the fallen soldiers while Veteran's Day honors the living soldiers.
And why does the VFW give out red poppies on this day?  Due to the extent of ground disturbance in warfare during WWI, corn poppies bloomed in between the trench lines and no man's land on the Western Front.   They were immortalized in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian poet and soldier Lt. Col. John McRae.
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.
May their memory be eternal.

1 comment:

Joey said...

I didn't know that about the poppies.

Thank you for sharing this information. I truly appreciate, as well as the lovely poem.


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