I am a veteran of the United States Navy. I don't talk about it, announce it, tell it around. But earning a commission as an officer in the service was one of my proudest life accomplishments. I am proud to have served my country in this way and to be among those who earned the right to wear the blue and gold.
To those who serve, to those who served, and to those who lost their lives in service, and gave the ultimate sacrifice, I salute you.
For this Memorial Day I am reviving one of my favorite posts from a few years back, recalling the poem, "In Flanders Fields".
May this holiday weekend be filled with fun and relaxation, as well as time to reflect on those who have gone on before us while protecting our way of life.
You may have seen them out in front of a storefront or on a street corner: veterans selling little red paper poppy flowers.
They are asking for a donation to veteran's organizations and in exchange, you receive this little red poppy in remembrance of the veterans who gave their lives for their country.
But many people do not realize the significance of the little red poppy flower and why it is tied into Memorial Day.
It comes from this poem, "In Flanders Fields", by Lt. Colonel John McCrae, MD, (1872-1918) serving in the Canadian Army.
He was serving as an Army field doctor during World War I and was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier, Alexis Helmer.
Hastily scribbled on a scrap of paper, it was thrown away by him and later retrieved by another soldier, who eventually promoted it's publication in the London newspapers of the day:
In Flanders Fields
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.