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Posts Tagged ‘world war one’


A Picture from Edna

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies. (We Shall Keep the Faith)

In November of 1918, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem, cited above. She then conceived of wearing red poppies on Memorial day to honor those who died serving the nation during war. She sold poppies as a fundraiser to benefit needy veterans. When Madam Guerin, a visitor to the United States from France, learned of this new custom she began making artificial red poppies to raise money for French war orphans and widows. The Red Poppy tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell Red Poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948, the US Post Office honored Moina Michael for founding the National Poppy movement with a three cent postage stamp with her likeness upon it.

The image, Poppy at Lion House, was originally uploaded by Edna Barney. It is posted here from Barneykin’s flickr account.

Visit Neddy’s Archives for more of Edna’s writings.

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Veterans Day 2008 – In Flanders Fields 

Flanders Fields Cross

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.

Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician, also died in France, the same year as my great aunt’s husband, Frank Heming, a casualty of World War I. In 1916 McCrae was Chief of Medical Services at a Canadian Hospital in France, where wounded soldiers from Arras were received. His poem remains one of the most memorable war poems. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres Salient in the spring of 1915. Poppies sprout best in newly cultivated soil and, when this was written, the entire Western Front was covered with poppies blooming as never before seen on the freshly dug graves.

Thank You Veterans of 2008

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