There’s more to Memorial Day than a three-day holiday. It’s an important time for our veterans and their families, so please take a few minutes during the long weekend to think about American troops we’ve lost to war. I’ll be thinking of my uncle, Albert Bain, an Army Air Corps pilot who was reported missing in action during World War II on January 24, 1943.
This solemn gesture has its roots in a poem written during World War I called “In Flanders Fields.”
The poem was written by John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel during the war. He was a member of the first Canadian contingent and died in France in 1918.
Red poppies grew in abundance in Flanders and they became a familiar symbol of remembrance for the war dead.
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.
In 1922, the poppy became the symbol of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. For over 80 years, the organization has sold paper Buddy Poppies before Memorial Day. These paper poppies are hand-made by disabled or senior veterans to help raise funds for veterans assistance programs.
If you can’t find any Buddy Poppies in your area, I hope you’ll make a donation to a VFW chapter near you and then add a few red poppies to your landscape.