Sunday, November 9, 2014

"In Flanders Field 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.
                                                              John McCrae (1915)  "In Flanders Field"
I remember in 7th grade history having to memorize this poem and then recite it in front of the class.  Everyone had to do it, and we all did, but it was not until Vietnam that war really impacted my thoughts.  My Dad fought in WWII, but he never talked about it.  So, as we consider Veterans Day this week, how nice it would be to think of it as more than a commercial holiday although in America it seems as though we do not celebrate anything without sales...BOGO reigns.
The flag is one of our key symbols, but have you ever thought about the colors.  We know the stars stand for the states, and the stripes for the original colonies, but what about the colors? Mike Buss, a flag expert with the American Legion, says that the most obvious reason for the flag’s colors is that they were simply taken from our mother country’s flag — the Union Jack of England. “Our heritage does come from Great Britain, and that was some of the thought process that went about in coming up with our flag,” Buss says of the American flag’s red, white and blue. “They come from the three colors that the Founding Fathers had served under or had been exposed to.”
Various historians have their thoughts on what the colors of the American Flag stand for. Some would argue that the colors on the American Flag represent philosophical values, with red representing blood, war and courage, blue standing for justice and freedom, and white representing purity.

However, others speculate even further that George Washington had his own interpretation of Old Glory and her colors: stars were taken from the sky, the red was inspired by the British colors, and the white stripes indicate secession from the home country.

“For us veterans, the flag represents why we served,” Buss says. “We were there because the flag represented our freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion.”

And don't get me started on the small numbers of people who vote!  Men and women died for our right to vote, yet few exercise it and still complain about life in America.
Maybe as you are standing in line at that big box store or downloading an app at Macy's, remember those who gave their lives and those who still put their lives on the line for us.

“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’” 
                                                                  ~Eve Merriam


denise said...

very true. my daddy was a WWII vet and my brother a Vietnam vet. but more important is that my son in law is active duty army with three Afghanistan tours in less than 7 years.

Susan said...

And, Denise, we need to remember those not just the sales the stores have!!!