Poppa Van and poppies…

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
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.

The first time I heard the words to this powerful poem, my father-in-law, John Van Amburgh, was quietly quoting them from memory.  He shared with me how he first heard the poem while serving overseas in the Army during WWII.  The poem, written by Canadian physician, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. John McCrae in 1915, describes the haunting loss of a friend and fellow soldier who died in the Second Battle of Ypres during WWI, the war to end all wars.  Dr. McCrae’s poem is one of the most quoted from the first world war, and its reference to the red poppies growing over the countless graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the Remembrance Poppy becoming a recognized memorial symbol for all soldiers lost in conflict.  Poppies were considered the battlefield flower because they were the first to grow back after war destroyed the landscape.

So on this 11th hour of this 11th day of the 11th month of this year, I take a moment to gratefully salute Poppa Van and all who bravely gave time, talent, and service to our country.  With profound gratitude we honor those living who served and those who currently serve, as well as their families who courageously “press on” during the long absences of their loved ones in service.  We all know someone…so…Who will you take a moment to reach out to and gratefully thank? 🙂 

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