Memorial Day is upon us and I wanted to provide you with a bit of inspiration. Memorial Day is the time where we in the United States remember our men and women who have died in military service and was first enacted to honor Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations for poppies leading up to Memorial Day and the poppy’s significance comes from a poem written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae after he witnessed the death of his friend Lieutenant Alex Helmer who was only 22 years old.
Here is that poem as it was first published on December 18, 1915 in Punch magazine:
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.
I come from a family who have several generations of men and women who have served in the American military. On this day, I remember not only those who have fallen in battle, but those who have served and are still serving in the military as well as their families. While it is important to remember those who have passed on, it is extremely important to remember those who served their country, those who continue to do so, and their families who all make great sacrifices to ensure the protection of our country.
This Memorial Day, I ask you not to merely look at Memorial Day simply as a day off from work, school, or as a reason for a BBQ. I ask you to say a prayer in your own way for our military both past and present as well as their loved ones. Take some time to go to a parade, visit a cemetery and place a flower at the grave of a fallen soldier who may no longer have living relatives to honor their memory, thank a veteran, donate to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and wear your Buddy Poppy proudly, tell your children what it means to be in the military, fly the American flag or place a wreath of red poppies on your door, read the poem above at your family BBQ, pray for our military and their families, and enjoy yourselves to the fullest.
Let us not forget our four-legged companions that have served as well:
Memorial Day activity: place coins on the graves of military men and women. Here is a great article that talks about the meaning behind each denomination of coins. I am taking my kiddo to our local cemetery to place as many pennies as we can on the graves of our fallen military.