I first posted this in May 2012 but as I read it, I realized it needed to be updated and shared. Perhaps next year, we can make red poppies to wear as a reminder of our fallen.
I found this interesting article regarding the history of Memorial Day. I wanted to confirm the history of this special day honoring those who have fought and died for our country. What prompted this search? I saw an ad on television (“ugh!”) declaring Memorial Day will be honored with a (get this!) Star Wars marathon. Are they serious?
Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show movies about real conflicts where real men gave their lives for our country? Lets see, there is Gettysburg (a favorite!) Sergeant York, (WWI movie about a Conscientious Objector who became a hero, to rescue our troops) Friendly Persuasion, Shenandoah, Yankee Doodle Dandy (for those who are not familiar with this oldie but goodie, this is about the composer George M. Cohen who wrote patriotic songs, Over There and It’s a Grand Old Flag…), War Horse,The Fighting Sullivans,(five brothers lost when their ship went down in WWII) and numerous other WWII movies. Movies about the Korean War, Vietnam, and last but not least, the more recent wars of the past twenty years. Many men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice. Many carry physical and invisible scars that only the Lord can heal. So why would one want to waste time watching a series of movies about a fictitious, futuristic war on Memorial Day? If we have nothing better to do than watch a marathon why not be reminded of real heroes?
Please forgive me for ranting about something so trivial as a television ad. I just want to thank all of the heroes who selflessly fought for freedom. So thank you for your sacrifice. We will not forget!
“Two Generations of Vets” by Stevan Dohanos
In the following link, there is a poem that inspired a lovely tradition. Wearing a red poppy (flower) to honor the fallen. Artificial poppies were made, sold and used to help others. That is a lovely tradition.
Above all, I do not want to forget the Sinless one who gave His life for us!
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
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.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
Enjoy footage of our grandfathers and great grandfathers as they marched “Over There!”
http://youtu.be/v1rkzUIL8oc (This scene from Yankee Doodle Dandy is one of my favorites!)
My heart goes out to grieving families of our fallen heroes. Praying for those who are serving today and for their families. Words cannot express our gratitude.
Have a blessed Memorial Day,