Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day and Poppies

In 1915, Dr. John McCrae had spent 17 days treating the wounded and burying the dead. It was 'seventeen days of Hades,' and after witnessing the death and presiding over the funeral of a friend, McRae sat down for 20 minutes on the back of an ambulance and composed this poem. As he gazed across the fields, pondering the senseless death and suffering of soldiers in the Great War, the poppies which had grown up in the ditches of that part of Europe (Ypres, Belgium) caught his eye and he included them in this poem. He was dissatisfied with his efforts and threw the paper away, but it was rescued by a friend and the poem was later published in the London magazine, Punch.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

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.

Memorial day first began in 1868 when a day was "designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion (Civil War)."

My Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Edward Westell, passed away Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, 1918. This stirring tribute to Civil War Veterans was included in his obituary:

We cannot close this brief resume of his life and not pause to do honor to his soldier's memory. These are the days when we are being thrown back upon our traditions and history as a country. The boys in blue of 61 will soon be all gone, but their name and their fame will live on as long as the United States endures. And that will be forever, for their spirit is our spirit and we will never surrender our freedom.

He enlisted in Second Iowa in September 12 of 1861, served four years and three months and was mustered out with the ranking of First Corporal.

We cannot be what we are today without the sacrifices of those who've gone before us, whether they be soldiers, statesmen or housewives.

Ponder your families impact on you.

How will you affect the future of your families???

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One Last Thought.......

Pleasant words are a honeycomb;
sweet to the soul and healing to the body.
Proverbs 16: