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Memorial Day: Pause and Remember

Memorial Day is a time to remember all of the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. I grew up in rural America, where each year members of the American Legion firing squad visit all of the small country cemeteries. Prior to Memorial Day the American Legion Auxiliary members place small American flags to mark the graves of all the veterans.

Red poppies are available as a symbol of remembrance for those who served. It was in 1921 that the poppy was adopted. The driving force behind the adoption of the red poppy in the U.S. was Georgia native and University of Georgia professor – Moina Michael. After hearing John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields, she wrote a poem in response – We Shall Keep the Faith. She became known as “The Poppy Lady” and continued to work hard to help soldiers wounded in combat through donations and sales of poppies.  Red poppies remain the symbol of remembrance in many countries around the world.

We Shall Keep the Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

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,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

~ Moina Michael

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