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!