Memorial Day is a time to remember all the men and women who lost their lives serving our country. Driving by the American Legion Hall in Southold, with the moving display of 500 poppies on the lawn, I wondered about this symbol of Memorial Day and here’s what I learned:
The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day. In war-torn battlefields, the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground is disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting during World War I.
The practice of wearing of poppies was further inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae when he saw the poppies in burials around his artillery position in Belgium.
Here are excerpts from “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae, May 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...
The torch; be yours to hold it high...
Today, poppies are both a symbol of loss of life and a symbol of recovery and new life, especially to care for the servicemen damaged physically or emotionally. If you would like to support the good work of our American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 803, you may send your donations to PO Box 591, Southold, NY 11971.
Please join us in thanking and honoring our service men and women, including our own Southold Veterans; and remember those who have died in the service of our great Country. _____________________________________________________________
Happy Birthday, Chris...you’re our hero! We miss you every day... ever so much!!!