From a special friend whose son is one of the many who defend our freedom night and day. A tribute to him can be read here… An American Soldier… and a Son.
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.
~ Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, 1915
This Memorial Day weekend we honor the sacrifice of those who died in service to our nation. The first observance in 1866 was to honor the fallen of the Civil War. The name was different, Decoration Day; but the ceremony was similar, with flags flown at half-staff, solemn parades, and flowers placed on graves. In 1915, Moina Michael replied to “Flanders Field” 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.
..and started the tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day.
In our area, the official ceremony will be at the Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, at 2:00 pm. Small flags will decorate the graveside of each veteran. Each small flag that waves is in remembrance of a large act of service. Sadly, the reason we have a holiday this month is often disregarded in favor of celebrating the beginning of picnic season. If we fail to remember the reason for the holiday, if we fail to honor the memory of those who died, we harden the heart of our nation, we dim the passing torch, and we loose the ability to teach our young citizens the value of counting the cost. Remember.
As you bow your head in tribute to those who passed us the torch, please pray for our troops, our veterans, our wounded warriors, and our nation.