In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flander’s Field,” Moina Michael conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later Madam Guerin, a visitor from France, learned of this idea started by Ms. Michael and upon returning to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This 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 poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy Program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.
The sad thing about Memorial Day is that a traditional observance of this special day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. To some people Memorial Day weekend is a time for a quick trip to the beach, a picnic, a barbeque, a day on the lake, anything that is relaxing and fun….after all it is a day off from work for some. There is nothing wrong with that. I live in a town of a little over 20,000 people. It is a small town….last year I sang “God Bless the USA” at the service at Memorial Park…..remember a town of 20,000 people. The program lasted less than an hour….and there were less than 100 people in attendance and 25 of those were involved in the program. THAT is sad! Yesterday, I attended another program….in another town….a small town….but less than 30 people were there. Thirty people….remembered. So let me leave you with this today….have you remembered to pray for the families of those who gave their lives? Have you remembered to thank a living veteran….for giving you the freedom to enjoy your day? If not…take a moment…and just close your eyes…and thank your lucky stars you are living where you are today! Enjoy my song choice for the day and visit Jori and Diane to see what their Musical Monday idea is….