There is a movement afoot to restore Memorial Day’s former solemnity, tradition and observance. Changed from a static May 30 to a floating last-Monday-of-May in 1971–all the better to get a guaranteed annual three day weekend, the meaning of this hallowed day has been dwindling ever since. Although someo VFW Posts have refused to observe it on any other day except the 30th, most of mainstream America has gone with the flow, accepting the 3 day weekend and filling it with plenty of rest and relaxation. Even the pResident has blown off Arlington this year in favor of a long weekend in Chicago. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing [except where Barry is concerned]. In these stressful days when half the population can’t seem to function without the aid of heavy doses of antidepressants, one needs all the help one can get to make time for the things that enhance quality of life for those still living. However, and most importantly, we must NEVER forget WHO MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR US TO HAVE THE LIVES WE HAVE TODAY WITH THE SACRIFICE OF THEIR LIVES.
When I was a kid, most of our fathers and their friends were veterans–WWII, Korea and later Vietnam. The parade was full of Buddy Poppies, made by and sold for disabled veterans and the day was one of bittersweet observance for those who would never come home.
“In Flander’s Field” describes a battlefield of crosses dotted with red poppies. The poem deeply touched the nation and the world, and, from that point on, poppies became known throughout the world as a memorial flower, a reminder of the lives lost in wartime.
“In Flanders Fields” by 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.
Selling replicas of the original Flanders’ poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League began the first nationwide sale of poppies to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium. Madam Guerin, who was recognized as the “poppy lady” from France, sought and received the cooperation of the VFW in 1922 after the Franco-American Children’s League was dissolved. The VFW conducted its first poppy sale before Memorial Day in 1922 becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally adopted during the VFW’s 1923 encampment. The next year, disabled veterans at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh, assembled VFW Buddy Poppies. The designation “Buddy Poppy” was adopted at that time.
In February 1924, the VFW registered the name “Buddy Poppy” with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name “Buddy” Poppy.
Note: Click HERE for audio, courtesy of Manheim VFW Post 9534
With all that is happening each day–things that shake our faith and chill our hearts–from mosques planned at New York’s Ground Zero to illegal aliens stringing from Arizona to the White House, the ugliness of politics as usual as Joe Sestak admits that the White House tried to bribe him to pull out of the Pennsylvania primary by offering him a job…not to mention the foundering stock market which seem to be afloat currently only because there is a federal team juggling the numbers to a fat fingered keyboarder 24/7—it is vital that we take pause in the midst of this apocalypse to honor our brave dead who faced the ultimate choices that brought them to their deaths.
To each and every one of them, I give thanks and my prayers and my utmost admiration.
To each of you, my prayers for our Republic, our Troops and our Constitution.