Poppies / Remembrance Day / Daddy's Story ..

Remembrance Day is approaching ...

November is poppy month ... the time of the year when by the wearing of a simple emblem, a red poppy, we salute the memory of those who sacrificed their health, their strength, even their lives, that we might live in a free country. Long known as the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) because it flourishes as a weed in grain fields, the 'Flanders poppy' as it is now usually called, grew profusely in the trenches and craters of the war zone. Artillery shells and shrapnel stirred up the earth and exposed the seeds to the light they needed to germinate.

The poppy is worn on Remembrance Day, the 11th of November... and at 11 o’clock on that day, everyone is asked to be silent for just one minute. The silence is a chance to remember all those who have died in wars and to be glad that we are not in full-blown war today. The 'Red Flanders' poppy ... was first described as a flower of remembrance by Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918), who was Professor of Medicine at McGill University of Canada before World War One. Colonel McCrae had served as a gunner in the Boer War, but went to France in World War One as a medical Officer with the first Canadian Contingent. At the second battle of Ypres in 1915, when in charge of a small first-aid post, he wrote in pencil on a page torn from his despatch book:

In Flanders Fields ...

In Flanders field 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 with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

By Major John McCrae, May 1915.

The verses were apparently sent anonymously to the English magazine Punch, which published them under the title, In Flanders’ Fields. Colonel McCrae died while on active duty in May 1918. On the eve of his death he allegedly said to his doctor, Tell them this. 'If ye break the faith with us who die, we shall not sleep.' His volume of poetry, In Flanders’ Fields and Other Poems, was published in 1919.

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An American, Miss Moina Belle Michael, read In Flanders’ Fields and wrote a reply entitled -

We shall keep the Faith ...

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valour led.
It seems to signal to the skies.
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.
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This next part comes from an e-mail I received some time ago, I posted it to my blog at that time .. I am re-posting it now as the comments in it refer to a wee girls feelings about her Dad who had lost his life helping others.

During the present armed conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq even more children have lost their Daddies... Surely it's time that something other than bullets, guns and bombs can be tried to win peace... You only have to look at how things have changed in Northern Ireland to see how 'entrenched tribal problems' and the troubles in that part of the world can be overcome with a lot of talk, hard work and a bit of give and take ...

There is enough suffering existing in this world without more being caused by adults who should know better - sounds simple I know but surely it's worth it... Let's hope and pray that peace does get a chance to break out before too long and that no more wee girls and boys are made to suffer being without their Daddies...

Daddy's Story ...

Her hair was up in a ponytail Her favorite dress tied with a bow, today was Daddy's Day at school and she couldn't wait to go. Her mommy tried to tell her, that she probably should stay home. Why the kids might not understand, if she went to school alone. But she was not afraid; She knew just what to say. What to tell her classmates of why he wasn't there today. But still her mother worried, for her to face this day alone. That was why once again, she tried to keep her daughter home. But the little girl went to school, eager to tell them all. About a dad she never sees, a dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back, for everyone to meet children squirming impatiently, anxious in their seats. One by one the teacher called, each student from the class. To introduce their daddy, as seconds slowly passed. At last the teacher called her name, every child turned to stare. Each of them was searching, for a man who wasn't there. "Where's her daddy at?" She heard a boy call out. "She probably doesn't have one" Another student dared to shout and from somewhere near the back, she heard a daddy say,"Looks like another deadbeat dad, too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her, as she smiled up at her mom and looked back at her teacher, who told her to go on. With hands behind her back, she slowly began to speak. Out from the mouth of a child, came words incredibly unique. "My daddy couldn't be here, because he lives so far away. But I know he wishes he could be, since this is such a special day and though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know all about my daddy, and how much he loves me so. He loved to tell me stories, he taught me to ride my bike.

He surprised me with pink roses and taught me to fly a kite. We used to share fudge sundaes,and ice cream in a cone. And though you cannot see him, I'm not standing here alone. Cause my daddy's always with me even though we are apart. I know because he told me, he'll forever be in my heart." With that, her little hand reached up and lay across her chest. Feeling her own heartbeat beneath her favourite dress and from somewhere in the crowd of Dads, her Mother stood in tears. Proudly watching her daughter who was wise beyond her years. For she stood up for the love of a man not in her life.

Doing what was best for her, doing what was right and when she dropped her hand back down, staring straight into the crowd. She finished with a voice so soft, But its message clear and loud. "I love my daddy very much, he's my shining star and if he could he'd be here, but heaven's just too far... You see he was a fireman and died just this past year when airplanes hit the towers and taught Americans to fear. But sometimes when I close my eyes, it's like he never went away." Then she closes her eyes and saw him there that day and to her mother's amazement, she witnessed with surprise. A room full of daddies and children, all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them, who knows what they felt inside. Perhaps for merely a second, they saw him at her side. "I know you're with me Daddy." To the silence she called out. and what happened next made believers of those once filled with doubt. Not one in that room could explain it, for each of their eyes had been closed. But there on the desk beside her was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose. And a child was blessed, if only for a moment, by the love of her shining bright star. And given the gift of believing - that heaven is never too far.........

They say it takes a minute to find
a special person - an hour to appreciate them
and then an entire life to forget them.

Cheers from the land of the Tartan,
Love Kate xxx.