May 26, 2023
The D/C Group honors our fallen soldiers and is grateful to those who paid the ultimate price to protect our freedoms. May we never forget those who gave all, and the loved ones they left behind.
Memorial Day used to be known as “Decoration Day.” It began during the Civil War when citizens used to put flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle. After World War I, the day came to be observed in honor of those who had died in all U.S. wars and the name was changed to Memorial Day. It became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Traditions that are practiced on Memorial Day today range from laying flowers at the graves of veterans, parades, laying wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, and even bbq’s and picnics that kick off the summer season. Another interesting, and perhaps lesser-understood tradition is that of the red poppy. This tradition had its start with the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, a WWI brigade surgeon. As John McCrae tended to the injured in a war-ravaged field, he spotted clusters of red poppies that had sprung up and was inspired to write the following poem:
“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."
This poem was shared in magazines and quickly gained popularity, being read at countless memorial ceremonies. Today the red poppy is still a symbol of remembrance and is worn on Memorial Day to honor our fallen.