Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I can remember, when I was little, my dad wearing a paper poppy on Veterans Day, once called Armistice Day.

Armistice Day commemorates the day World War I ending on the Western Front - November 11th, 1918. The Armistice took place at eleven o'clock in the morning on November 11th, 1918, the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." The first Armistice Day was November 11th, 1919, memorializing the freedom achieved through the sacrifices of countless millions.

I didn't really understood the symbolism of the poppy until I was a bit older, but now I can't see a red poppy without thinking of the selfless sacrifice made by countless soldiers throughout our nation's history. Brave men and women who have been willing to give everything to further the cause of freedom.

Why poppies? Because of the poem, In Flanders Fields, written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. McCrae, a battle surgeon, wrote out the poem in a few minutes the day after he witnessed the death of his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. It was written by McCrae during a short break in bombing on May 3, 1915.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders Fields

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.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

McCrae would never see the Armistice, dying on January 28, 1918 of pneumonia in Boulogne, but his poem lives on to remind us of the ultimate sacrifice.

If you're out on Armistice Day and see veteran's groups selling poppies, please consider buying one. The money goes to veteran's causes, which are historically underfunded in the United States and rely heavily on private donations.

I made a few today just in case. Red felt, black seed beads, black embroidery floss. I didn't use a pattern, instead folding a piece of paper into quarters, then cutting an "almost heart" into the unfolded side of some; a simple 4-petal design in others.

Have a blessed Veteran's/Armistice Day. We owe those who serve and have served, especially those who paid the ultimate price, our undying appreciation and deep gratitude for their brave, selfless service. We should all find a way to say "Thank you".


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We always buy the little poppies from the vets when we're out on Veteran's Day. Love the little ones you made. Very cute.

Very, very thankful to those who have served our country-no matter how long they served! We wouldn't be free without them!!