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.
She then 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 a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned 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. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it." I think what saddens me about this holiday is that the traditional observance of Memorial day seems to have dimmed greatly over the years. Many Americans, especially the young ones, either don't know or have forgotten the "real" meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. I was pleasantly surprised when on the news over the weekend I saw a military cemetary in the Atlanta area being adorned with miniature flags by the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts. It was such a tender vision....watching them quietly place each flag just so....and salute it. But that was one....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. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. They are wrong! This is a very special day for the ones who gave all...I have sung in Andersonville, GA and been very moved by the small flags flying in the Confederate cemetary there. I have walked through Arlington many times and cried from my first step. Walked by the Vietnam and Korean monuments and felt the souls of the fallen and missing crying out to me. I wear a POW/MIA bracelet for CDR. William Arnold who has been missing since November of 1966. I put this bracelet on in 1968. He was a young navy pilot who did his duty and it cost him his life in Vietnam. I have a long history of family who have served....My great-great grandfather fought in the War of 1812, my great grandfather was at the Battle Above the Clouds at Lookout Mtn. during the Civil War, My grandfather fought in WWI, my dad and his brothers were in WWII, my uncles and cousins were in Korea, my husband and a number of my cousins were in Vietnam, and I have a son-in-law, cousins and former students who have all fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, whereever they were needed. Some gave all.....My first student funeral was during Desert Storm. I hate the sound of TAPS to this day. He was just a kid. So when you all sit down today for your family BBQ remember what today is about, say a prayer for those who gave all....and for their families, remember who this day honors, and be greatful for the freedoms we have today because....Some gave all.