Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in the USA

 Monday, May 30th, is Memorial Day in the United States.  This national holiday commemorates U.S. soldiers who have died while in the military service.
 It was first enacted by former slaves to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War – it was extended after World War I to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
 Many people observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. The flag is traditionally flown at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
Volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at National Cemeteries.  Here in our region, special thanks goes to the Boy Scouts of America for placing 30,000 American flags on gravesites at the Bay Pines National Cemetery in honor of veterans.

Buddy Poppies for Memorial Day

The red poppy is the traditional flower to honor and commemorate veterans in North America, Europe and Australia.
The red poppy was made famous by a poem - In Flanders Fields - written during World War I by Canadian army surgeon Lt. Col. John McCrae.

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.

Because of the poem's popularity, the red poppy was adopted as the Remembrance Flower for war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.
On Memorial Day, many US veterans wear a red lapel poppy to honor their fallen soldier buddies.
Buddy Poppies are still made today and given away around Memorial Day. The donations received for Buddy Poppies go directly to support disabled veterans and the families of fallen veterans.

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