In Flanders Fields the poppies blow [image: Steel Steve (work, work, work)]
by: Grayson Leverenz
Originally posted: November 11, 2008
Veterans Day allows us to honor all the men and women that have served in the armed forces during peace times as well as times of war. Without these brave people, the world would be a very different place.
Americans originally celebrated Veterans Day as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. President Woodrow Wilson called for a moment of silence exactly one year after Germany signed the Armistice document, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The President wanted all Americans to “remember the armistice and embrace the peace.”
In 1954, President Eisenhower responded to the people’s desire to broaden Armistice Day to honor veterans who served in all American wars, and legally changed the holiday to Veterans’ Day. Since that time, Americans have opened the holiday even further to give thanks to all veterans supporting our country throughout years of war and peace.
Americans celebrate Veterans Day with parades, proudly flying flags and ceremonies. One of the most famous ceremonies honors the Unknown Soldiers that gave their lives on the battlefield. The President of the United States lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers to remember and give thanks.
Poppies represent a symbol of the Armistice based in part on the poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD of the Canadian army “In Flanders Fields.” The poem has been used for recruiting during war times as well as for arguing why war is wrong. But to Cyrill Allinson, the soldier that first read the poem, it was simply, “an exact description of the scene in front of us both.”
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.
Please give thanks to veterans, and learn more about Veterans Day here.