Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Observing Memorial Day

Stephanie

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The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.  – Memorial Day Order, John A. Logan, Commander in Chief

Memorial Day, observed every year on the last Monday of May, is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

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“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war and its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world’s most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict.

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.

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John McCrae was a poet and physician from Guelph, Ontario who developed an interest in poetry at a young age and wrote throughout his life. His earliest works were published in the mid-1890s in Canadian magazines and newspapers.

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