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havanaholly

Memorial Day

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Special good wishes and hopes for a safe & healthy Memorial Day go out from me to all our vets and their loved ones, our Gold Star families and all the heroic combatants in the current war against COVID 19.

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Do you remember the little paper or cloth poppies that we used to wear in remembrance on Memorial Day? That was back in the day when the focus was on family and remembrance, not a marathon of sales.

Americans don't typically wear poppies on November 11 (Veterans Day), which honors all living veterans. Instead, they wear the symbolic red flower on Memorial Day—the last Monday in May—to commemorate the sacrifice of so many men and women who have given their lives fighting for their country.

*In Flanders Fields*
by John McCrae, May 1915

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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I haven't seen poppies since the days of the "Buddy Poppies" back when I was in high school, but I do remember getting a school holiday because so many families used the day to visit their fallen heroes' graves.

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Back in 1955 I was in 8th grade. I was chosen by a vote of the junior high teachers to participate in our town's Memorial Day celebration. I'm pretty sure it was still called Decoration Day at that time.  I wore a white dress with a red, white, and blue badge sash and a silver star badge that proclaimed to the world: Deputy Mayor. I rode in the parade in an open convertible with the mayor while my mother, a Girl Scout leader, and my sister, a Scout in her troop, had to march. I gave a little speech from the dais when the parade wound down in the park. I don't recall what I said, but I know it was very brief, and I'm pretty sure I missed the whole point. I mostly remember being terrified. I still have the badge and sash.

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Thanks to all soldiers who have lived, died, and fought for our country and the cause of freedom. Your service made and still makes it possible for all of us to enjoy the freedoms we sometimes take for granted, and to live the best life we can.

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