Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all who have died in our nation’s service, and it began with flowers. Citizens would place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. Southern states did not acknowledge Memorial Day until after World War I when it was expanded to include all soldiers who fought in any war for our country.
The poppy as a symbol can be attributed to Moina Michael, a Georgia native, who was inspired by John McCrae’s battlefront-theme poem “In Flanders Fields,” which begins “In Flanders fields the poppies blow…Between the crosses row on row.” Ms. Michael vowed to wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I. She came up with the idea to sell silk poppies to raise money for disabled veterans. Known as the “Poppy Lady”, she wrote this:
May 30 was the original Memorial Day, but the government has changed it for a 3-day weekend. While it is widely heralded as the kick-off weekend for summer, it is also honored with fun fireworks, parades and concerts with patriotic music. However, it all began with flowers, and flowers continue to take center stage to honor the fallen, those serving and those who have served.
Bloomstoday.com embraces a generous patriotic theme in many floral arrangements, all graced with beautiful blooms in red, white and blue along with the stars and stripes in a small Old Glory nestled in some of them. These are just three of several patriotic floral compositions.
Unity Bouquet. A generous arrangement of fresh red roses, blue irises and white Peruvian lilies accented with natural greens. Pride, joy and honor come with the colors and two small flags proudly tucked into a clear, glass vase sporting a bold red ribbon. It says I Love You. I Honor You. I Thank You. I Remember You. And Your Sacrifice.
Justice Basket. And liberty and justice for all ……. an entire country’s mantra protected by brave men and women in uniform in five branches of military service. The whitewashed, woven basket adorned with mini carnations, daisies, red spray roses and a patriotic ribbon will live on as a reminder of your thoughtfulness and remembrance.
Loyal Heart Bouquet. This stunning all-American arrangement stands as proud and tall as those who wore the uniform in service. Regal red gladiolas tower over large elegant white lilies, which arrive in bud form for most long-lasting bloom enjoyment, and blue irises. Gathered at the stems in a ruby red glass vase, this bouquet speaks volumes of your tribute and gratitude.
The National Moment of Remembrance is 3 p.m. local time. Americans are asked “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and Respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps’.” Program this into your cell phone and share the time with anyone near you. Taking a few moments or hours’ time on a vacation day to remember fallen soldiers is such a small sacrifice compared to what was given by those being honored.
Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day with your Family:
~ send flowers to loved ones of the fallen or to ones currently serving or who have served
~ fly the American flag half staff until noon; fly a POW/MIA flag
~ participate in the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. wherever you are
~ contemplate what freedom means and the classic phrase that “freedom isn’t free”
~ teach your children and grandchildren about freedom and the cost to those who gave their lives and those who live and serve to protect it.
By Joanne M. Anderson