It’s Memorial Day, So Remember

It’s curious how we can have a national holiday we call Memorial Day, the very name which tells us we’re remembering, and promptly forget what it’s for. In the town in which I grew up every Memorial Day the band would play Abide With Me at the bandshell in Chautauqua Park. There would be an address, a plane would fly over the lake and drop a wreath, and someone would read a poem. As a young girl, I was more interested in buying a candy necklace from the candy truck parked there than thinking about people I721px-Poppies_again_5_(5781808652) didn’t know or war or sacrifice. I didn’t appreciate a poem about poppies and marking our place. I began to listen more closely when I was a senior in high school. Now every Memorial Day, I think of that poem, and in my heart recite as much as I recall. The poem, In Flanders Fields, was written in 1915. It’s good to remember poems. It’s better to remember people who sacrificed their lives for our country. On Monday, go ahead and cook out, but don’t forget. Remember.

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.

In Flanders Fields, John McCrae, 1915, public domain;                                           Photo: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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