Flowers are a springtime favorite. They add color to your landscape, and make long car rides more enjoyable when they grow wild along the road. Many flowers have a symbolic meaning to them as well: red roses are for love, purple hyacinths are for forgiveness, goldenrods are for encouragement and the red poppy are for remembrance. This is why the poppy is particularly popular this time of the year – to remember those who have fallen during a time of war on Memorial Day.
A poppy is a flower that is used internationally to represent those who have fought and fallen during a time of war. It is a beautiful, yet simple flower that can be worn on your shirt or lapel above your heart. It is something that can be worn by both men and women. Each country has a special day that they honor those soldiers: Memorial Day for America, Armistice Day for the UK and Commonwealth, and Anzac Day for Australia and New Zealand just to name a few. That is what makes this flower so special – it is a universal symbol for lost veterans.
Growing up Memorial Day was a big deal in my town. We’d have a parade down the Main Street with marching bands, young scouts and plenty of floats and fire trucks. Afterwards we’d all assemble in the town park to honor those who have fallen. This ceremony is a somber event lying wreathes by a plaque and the township school band plays in the background. Then you go home and bar-b-q. This is what Memorial Day is all about.
To me, Memorial Day was always about World War II and its veterans. As I grew older I realized that it was about all soldiers and military that have fallen during a time of war. For my grandparents it was World War II, for my parents it was Vietnam, and for my generation it was the war in Afghanistan. Men and women sacrificed their lives to keep us free and safe, and because of this we take the time to honor each year.
This year, let’s remember the fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom. I will proudly be wearing my red poppy to my towns Memorial Day parade and festivities afterwards. If you do not have a poppy, be sure to wear the color red that day since it’s nice, bright and patriotic.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!