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.
-Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
For every year of my life that I can remember (and some of my memories go back to when I was three), I have worn a Buddy Poppy on Memorial Day. When I was little, my mother tied it to a buttonhole in my shirt. As I got older I put it on the zipper of my jacket or the lapel of my blazer, or tied it onto my cap. Now I put a fresh one on the rear view mirror in my car every year because it is a powerful reminder that we owe all we have to those who served our country in times of war.
Four generations of my family were in the Armed Forces: my great-grandfather in the Army (Spanish-American War), my grandfather in the Navy (World War I), my father in the Army (World War II), and my cousins (in Vietnam). Because of their sacrifices, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time of peace and did not get drafted to fight in a war. I hope we all will be able to say the same for our sons and daughters, and all the sons and daughters of Americans born or not yet born in the years to come.
The other day my daughter and I were walking along the main avenue in our neighborhood, and there were two old fellows standing in front of the church selling Buddy Poppies. They were proud gentlemen, wearing their pointed hats from the local VFW. I handed a dollar to one of them and took a poppy and gave it to my daughter. Of course, she liked it but had no idea what it was about, so I gave her a brief history lesson on the Buddy Poppy.