Whichever side of The Pond you call home, take a moment out of your Florida vacation to observe Remembrance Day/Veterans Day.  A single day is nowhere near sufficient to convey the depth of thanks we all owe to all those who lost their lives fighting wars.

Remembrance Day

This day has been observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of WWI and honours armed forces members who died in the line of duty.  This tradition was inaugurated by King George V in 1919.

After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines.

Veterans Day

This is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans.  Like Remembrance Day, Veterans Day began after World War I, but after many more deadly conflicts, November 11th became a day to honour veterans of all wars.

The World War I armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  The American Legion adopted the poppy as it’s official flower in 1920 and introduced the wearing of the poppy to the United States.

 

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.

John McCrae

 

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