March 17, 2022

What do you think about when you think about poppies?

I think about sacrifice, honor, and hope.

When I was about 8 years old, I was chosen to recite the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae on Memorial Day at a local cemetery. I had to memorize the poem. I was not good at memorization. So, I studied the poem to help myself remember it.

I remember asking my parents many questions. Where is Flanders fields? Why are there so many crosses? Why are there guns? Did all those people die in the war? Who were they? Why? Why? Why?
I learned about the war and the many soldiers that lost their lives. It upset me to realize that people died so that others could live. I continued to try to understand the poem. So far, I had learned about death, war, and sacrifice. What did that have to do with birds singing and poppies blowing?

That year my mother and I grew poppies in a little garden by the fence in our yard. She told me we did this to honor the soldiers that died. I was a little closer to understanding.

I’ve always loved music. It lifts you up when you are feeling down. Bird song is music! Then I really began to understand. This was a poem about honoring the soldiers that sacrificed their lives to protect others, but it was also about hope.

This year, share your own poppy story! Poppy Day is May 27, 2022. Make sure to order your poppies through department.

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