Friday, May 22, 2009

In Memorium

Today we were at Stop-n-Shop picking up a few things for dinner and our produce for the week and, upon exiting, I saw an elderly VFW member handing out the paper poppies I remember getting in grade school when our neighbor (and VFW member) Jim Kauffman used to visit our classroom prior to Memorial Day weekend.

This man saw me with my two boys in the cart, heading back to the car and asked if they'd gotten their flower yet. I politely declined for Charlie, as he'd just choke on it, but said that H would love one. I slipped my donation into the plastic canister and H palmed his flower as the man explained that they were made by wounded soldiers at the VA Hospitals. Almost as an afterthought, he said "Our country doesn't ever really learn from our past. These little boys you've got here...someday they'll grow up..." he didn't have to finish the sentence.

I thanked him for the flower and for his service to our country and headed out into the sticky New England heat. While the comment made a bit of a lump in the pit of my stomach, the flower and what it symbolizes were a great opportunity for me to give a basic explanation of Memorial Day to H, and to remember for myself that it's not just bar-b-ques and beaches.

I hope you'll take the time to thank someone in the Armed Forces, no matter your politics, as you enjoy the extra day of R and R the weekend.
In Flander's Field
by Col. John McCrae
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.

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