Monday, November 10, 2008

Lest We Forget

I commented to my coworkers in the taxi last night that for the first year in Korea, I didn't have a poppy. I couldn't recall off hand where I've been getting them and then it occurred to me that perhaps it was in the Canadian bar and I haven't been to RMT in ages. Then Sara said that she had just learned about the buttons this year. I was completely confused until I realised that by buttons, she meant poppies. Do Americans not do poppies? So I quoted "In Flanders Fields" to her, which I will never forget after all the years of Remembrance Day ceremonies.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.


Jen said...

Nope, Americans don't get poppies, nor do they do Remembrance Day. It's called Veteran's Day and it's not a holiday. They have Memorial Day instead. I wear my poppy in the US and I've been complimented on it as if it's a broach. Sigh.

Kay Olson said...

Umm, poppies aren't so big. I used to see them being sold for a buck and worn (fake little ones), but haven't in quite a number of years.

Veteran's Day in the U.S. is a federal and state holiday in all 50 states. It's different from Memorial Day in that Vet Day is for living military vets and Memorial Day is for the dead. Both are holidays in the U.S.

Poppies are not as well known a symbol though.

Beachcomber said...

I have "In Flanders Fields" memorized too. I went to every single Remembrance Day ceremony all through my childhood because I was in Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders. Oh, the flags I've carried. Oh, the frostbitten fingers and toes I endured as we marched in procession through the streets of our small town. Heh. I'm glad I did it, though. It helped me feel even a little bit connected to my 2 grandfathers who both served in WWII.