Tag Archives: Memorial Day

Remembrance

When I was a child, our school passed out poppy-pins for us to wear on Memorial Day. Looking back, it might have been because the school was located on a Navy base. But I imagined everyone everywhere received poppies, too. And wore them with grateful hearts.

We had solemn parades with lots of red, white, and blue. The Blue Angels flew overhead and we heard the familiar sound of “Taps” played by a lone trumpet. Later, in a quiet moment at home, I’d open Mother’s slim book of poetry and read “In Flanders Fields” over and over, until I could recite it from memory.

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In Flanders Fields  by John McCrae

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.

Though written during WWI after the death of his friend at the second battle of Ypres, Dr. John McCrae’s touching poem is as meaningful today as then. And today, I wish I had a poppy pin to wear.

For more information on the inspiration for McCrae’s classic poem, visit The Great War. And to find out about the tradition of the remembrance poppy, visit The Story Behind the Remembrance Poppy.

Photo credit: *Lie … on a short break … ! / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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Playing Favorites

Recently, I had the privilege to play violin with the Red Bluff Masterworks Chorale & Orchestra. Our Memorial Day Weekend concert, honoring God, the United States of America, and the Men & Women of the Armed Forces. I always look forward to this concert because the music is so rich and meaningful. Colored red, white, & blue.

Before each tune, Conductor Mark Franklin turned to the audience and said, “This one is my favorite.” They laughed, but he meant what he said. And he was right. Every rousing or heart-tugging tune celebrating our military heroes was the best.

If I had to pick a favorite, and don’t hold me to this choice, it might be “This Is America.” A medley of theme songs played for each branch of the service. Our mighty chorale’s rendition of “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” and “Anchors Away” gave me goose bumps. Members of the audience who served in that branch or whose loved one had done so were directed to stand and be honored when they heard their familiar tune. I saw tears stream down proud faces and cried a few of my own.

As July 4th approaches and we ready to celebrate our freedom, I’ll be remembering all my favorites again. And they will be embodied in every man or woman who stood during that song. And many more heroes who could not.

American Flag

Long may she wave....

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