When I was a child, our school passed out poppy-pins for us to wear on Memorial Day. Looking back, it might have been because the school was located on a Navy base. But I imagined everyone everywhere received poppies, too. And wore them with grateful hearts.

We had solemn parades with lots of red, white, and blue. The Blue Angels flew overhead and we heard the familiar sound of “Taps” played by a lone trumpet. Later, in a quiet moment at home, I’d open Mother’s slim book of poetry and read “In Flanders Fields” over and over, until I could recite it from memory.

In Flanders Fields  by John McCrae

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.

Though written during WWI after the death of his friend at the second battle of Ypres, Dr. John McCrae’s touching poem is as meaningful today as then. And today, I wish I had a poppy pin to wear.

For more information on the inspiration for McCrae’s classic poem, visit The Great War. And to find out about the tradition of the remembrance poppy, visit The Story Behind the Remembrance Poppy.

Photo credit: *Lie … on a short break … ! / / CC BY-NC


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2 responses to “Remembrance

  1. Thank you Cathy. This is a beautiful tribute. They may be handing out poppies outside of Wal Mart. Love ya, Nancy


    • Cathy Elliott

      Nancy, thanks for your kind words. I just returned from a wonderful Memorial Day Ceremony at the Northern CA Veteran’s Cemetery. And I got my poppy!

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