Posts Tagged ‘poppies for remembrance’

A single poppy spotted under the cemetery wall on a hot day this week.

It is Memorial Day weekend in the States.

On the last Monday of May, America honors those service members killed in war–a custom dating back to the Civil War.

Meredith carries the Stars and Stripes at memorial ceremonies here each May and November–much appreciated by the local veteran associations.

Tomorrow in a little mountain village  called Le Rialet, a half hour’s drive from Castres, two members of an American OSS Commando unit–killed in action just outside the village in August 1944–will be remembered with their Resistance comrades, in a ceremony held each year.

The dwindling band of proud French fighters–about ten remain, all in their late eighties–will stand and bear witness. It never fails to move.

The poppy quickly became a symbol of the fallen in the UK after the first World War.  They grew profusely in the torn up ground of northern France and they fade so soon.

We wear them in November–for  remembrance.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

It’s thought he wrote the poem on 3 May 1915 , after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, 22 years old, the day before.

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.

Poppies grow wild in disturbed earth.

The farmers round us create the perfect environment for them to flourish.

Colonies spring up overnight it seems–splashes of brilliant crimson which could, if you were so minded, recall spilt blood.

Battlefields and cemeteries (where war casualties were buried) too, welcome these poignant flowers.

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