Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Flanders Fields

Reusing last year's post with a new picture. I wrote a new post at PJLifestyle I hope will be up tomorrow.

In the US we know, vaguely, of November 11th as Veteran's Day, which follows the Marine Corps birthday by a day.  Sadly, it isn't much noticed.  Memorial Day in May is bigger in the national consciousness.

In the UK Remembrance Sunday is held the closest Sunday to November 11th, Armistice Day.  The UK does it right.  Starting November 1st, poppy sellers appear everywhere, like Salvation Army Santas.  For a pound or more donation to the pensioners' funds (Here's the link to the USO),  you get a red poppy to wear for the next few weeks.  Bright red poppies are everywhere in early November as a bright and silent reminder of those who have given all.  The poppy symbol comes from the poem "In Flanders Fields":

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.

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

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,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
In Flanders Fields we fought.

I am sad that we do not do the poppies in the US.  Even if not spurred on by Christopher Robin, which given how much he has been awed by the story behind the poppy I'm sure he will insist, but I will forever do Veteran's Day the UK way, with poppies in November.  
UPDATE on 11.11.11: I am failing in my mission to return the poppies to the US.  I've got a silk poppy wreath, and one for my car.  Christopher Robin is reading the poem to his class today.  Maybe I will send to Cupcake's teacher as well.  Anyway, I will do better next year.  Perhaps I will talk to the USO...
UPDATE: 11.11.12 I wrote a new post at PJLifestyle, which I hope will be up today but I submitted it late last night. (Yasha is in London, so I was writing with all 4 children underfoot.) I found out that the American Legion sells poppies as a fundraiser, but not nearly as prominently as in the UK. Hopefully the PJLifestyle post will refresh our memory about the tradition that started here. Poems going to school with the kids on Monday.

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