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Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering With Red Poppies

While in France I passed by acres and acres of the reddest poppies I have ever seen.

The French Victory day of WWII is celebrated on May 8th. Andrea and I happened to be in Beaune (Burgundy region) where the whole town seemed to turn out for the celebration.

Bands played, wreath were placed, and school children gave sweet speeches.
File:Remembrance march.jpeg

It seemed a sharp contrast to how the majority of Americans spend our Memorial Day.

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.
John McCrae, 1915
In 1915 Moina Michael was inspired by Mr. McRae’s  poem and penned the following verses. 
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.
Ms. Michael adopted the custom of wearing a red poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war and also as a symbol of keeping the faith.

As I write this my cub scout and his leader father, Ret. MSgt. Eric C. Gunn, are placing flags at the local cemetery for men they never met but are honored to acknowledge their ultimate sacrifice.

Comments have been turned off as a representation of silence so that the Gunn family can reflect and honor those who have lost their lives defending our country.


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