Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May; it typically marks the beginning of summer and because it is a federally observed holiday, many have the day off and take the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
As we gather with family and friends, let us keep in mind that Memorial Day is more than the start of summer, more than a three-day weekend or a backyard barbeque. It is a day created to remember and pay homage to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who lost their lives defending our nation.
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion collect donations and hand out red Poppy Flowers during Memorial Day weekend and sometimes Veterans Day weekend. Ever wonder where the red “Poppy” flower came from?
Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem in 1915:
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She sold poppies to friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW became the first Veterans’ organization to sell poppies nationally. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.
Remembering our Heroes this Memorial Day
About the author:
Jeff Ficaro, Oak Forest Branch Manager, is a former U.S. Marine; proudly serving from ‘96-‘03. His time overseas included participation in Operation Deny Flight, Operation SilverWake and Operation Southern Watch. He is a member of the VFW, American Legion and the Marine Corps League and Board member with the Disabled Patriot Fund.