Remember a day before today…

In memory of…

Since the WWI battles in the poppy fields of Belgium these little red flowers have become a symbol of remembrance for soldiers around the world who have died during wartime. When I was little you could buy little cloth versions to wear as a show of thanks. We had the day off from school to attend our local parade honoring the WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam vets for their courage, bravery and sacrifice. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a community or city Veteran’s Day parade and even rarer to see anyone selling, or wearing, these cloth remembrances.

This year I won’t be attending a parade but I will have the honor of sharing breakfast with a group of veterans as part of Vanderbilt University’s Veteran’s Day Celebration. I’ll get to tour a Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter, which is used to care for wounded personnel by the Army’s forward surgical teams. Finally, I’ll get to attend a special screening and discussion of war journalist Morton Dean’s documentary American Medevac, which follows his efforts to reunite Vietnam War U.S. Army medevac pilots and crew members with the soldiers they rescued in 1971.

I’m really looking forward to meeting the vets, hearing their stories, and sharing a meal in their honor. If you’re reading this and you have served our country, supported a family member or friend during their war or peace time enlistment, or have a loved one who has given all, please accept my genuine and heartfelt thanks. This poppy is for all of you!

*Remember A Day – Pink Floyd

Blood Poppy Red…

poppyfield.jpg
Image courtesy of AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Poppies have always meant the start of summer for me.  For as long as I can remember our vets have stood outside of stores and on street corners trading donations for cloth (and now plastic) poppies during the Memorial Day weekend.  Have you ever heard of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London art installation?  All 886,998 poppies that made up the installation were sold, raising millions of pounds which were distributed equally between six service charities.  I’d love to see a version of this installation done stateside to commemorate our veterans.  Until then, I buy poppies from every vet I see as my inadequate way of remembering, and thanking, every military soldier (past and present). for their service to their country and its citizens.