Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why Poppies

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.

In Flanders Fields  (written 1915) John McCrae, MD

John  McCrae was a Canadian soldier, medical officer and poet during World War One. He was present in the Flanders region of Belgium when German forces launched the first of many chemical attacks. He noticed how quickly poppies filled in among the new graves, one of them being his best friend's.

At King Soopers this morning, two men from a VFW post passed out poppies. They did not seek contributions, but gratefully accepted them with a soft "thank you." I took mine, offered a few dollars and wished them a good Memorial Day. These were men who had, when they were younger, taken up the torch of freedom, held it high and kept faith with the fallen. 

There were several individuals who did not accept the poppies. They were free to do so, and the men in turn wished them well. There we no recriminations, no finger wagging at the micro-aggression of indifference. One can never tell why that decision, not that it matters.

Each year, Bikecopblog honors an individual fallen service member, as a representative of all of those who have given their lives for the cause of liberty. This year, it is Dustin Crookston of Denver. Dustin was a member of the US Army's "Big Red One," the 1st Infantry Division. He was grievously wounded by an IED during combat operations in Iraq during 2007. He made it back to the States, but succumbed to his wounds in January, 2008.

I work with his mom. I remember that she would take time away and visit him in a medical facility in Texas. Although the prognosis was always grim, there was hope and she clung to it. I see his picture at her desk, of a grinning young man with pink cheeks and sparkling eyes. He was 19 when he died.

Take a poppy. Remember the young men and women who loved, and were loved...and are loved still.

No comments:

Post a Comment