Memorial Day, a day of remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

Memorial Day, remembering those who have fallen while in service to our country, is known as the start of the summer season as millions gather together to barbecue, head to the beach or participate in other celebratory activities, but here at my house we do things a bit differently.

As a military family – my husband, father, father-in-law and three of my sons have all served our country – we always take a moment on Memorial Day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We still hold our annual family barbecue complete with ribs, chicken and potato salad, but after we sit down to eat and my husband offers up the blessing, we hold a moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. I hope all our readers recognize this holiday and do the same. I offer up my heartfelt sympathies to all families who have lost a loved one in service to our country. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

I remember as a child, my sisters and I scrounging through the bottom of our mother’s purse to gather change to buy a red poppy being sold in front of the Pamida store in Willmar, Minnesota, by the American Legion Post. I would wear it proudly on Memorial Day and usually for days afterward. This got me thinking about those red poppies, I hardly see them anymore, but their significance is meaningful

According to www.usmemorialday.org, the wearing of poppies became popular in “1915 after the publication of the poem, ‘In Flander’s Field,’ by Lt. Colonel John McCrae, following the second battle of Ypres. The poppy, in Europe and the United States, quickly became a symbol of the fallen military after the publication” of the poem.

The opening line of “‘In Flander’s Field’ refers directly to the sight Lt. Col. McCrae witnessed as he, a physician, walked among the crosses laid out to mark the site of so many who died for their counties. While the poppies grew among the graves, they are also a resilient flower,” the website reports. “The poppy is able to lay dormant for many years in the soil only to reappear in great numbers, covering fields which had lay bare for many years previously. This also held significance for Lt. Col. McCrae as he wrote of the heroes who appeared in great numbers to come to the aid of others against oppression and tyranny during this Great War, and who would lie dormant until their call was heard again.”

In honor of Memorial Day, Valley News is proud to share the poem, “In Flander’s Field,” with our readers, and may God bless all of those who have served or who continue to serve our country.

In Flander’s Field

By Lt. Col. John McCrae, 1915

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

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