Monday, November 12, 2012

Armistice Day

November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m.  -
the world celebrated the end of World War I.

That day was then known as Armistice Day; In the United States, it is now called Veterans Day

In England, this day is known as Remembrance Day and is symbolized by the poppy.  On the English battlefields of Flanders, the only thing that grew on those fields were poppies.  John McCrae, a doctor with the Canadian Armed Forces, seeing these flowers dotting the fields where soldiers had given their lives, wrote a poem named, In Flanders’ Fields

The poem so inspired an American War Secretary, Moina Michael, that she began selling poppies to raise money for ex-servicemen.  A postage stamp has been created to honor her work in recognizing service men through the poppy.  The tradition continued to grow through the work of Major George Howson, an infantry officer, who formed the Disabled Society.  These disabled men and women of WWI could easily create an imitation poppy that was sold to others as commemorations to be worn on Remembrance Day.   The proceeds from the poppies helped supportthe ex-servicemen.  Poppies are still worn on lapels, hats, and clothing.  Poppies are placed on graves, in wreaths, and upon cenotaphs as symbols of remembrance.

In Flanders’ Fields by Lt. Col. 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,
Scare heard amidst 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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