Today, Mr. Right went off to work with a bright red poppy pinned to his lapel. Every year, he remembers. When the boys lived at home, they wore a red poppy on their shirts. The Sunday close to Remembrance day, they wore the poppy to church.
While living in Europe we visited a different cemetery near this date. We were in Saint Avold one year and payed our respects to General George Patton another year. We remembered. We were, each year trying to teach the boys to respect & remember.
We have a lovely painting of a field of poppies painted by a Texas artist. It hangs proudly in our home. It gently reminds us to remember.
My grandmother (mother’s side) could never remember my father’s birthday. She always thought it was November 11. Actually, it was November 12th. Maybe she chose not to remember?
My husband sent out his Veteran’s Day cards again this year and has received several. Sometimes for tough old Army guys it is easier to send a card, let Hallmark say the words and add a meaningful quote.
We had the boys memorize “the” poem. Yes, “Flanders Fields” was printed, chalked on the sidewalk, read and repeated & repeated & repeated. They were very proud to recite it to their Dad when they finally had it down pat.
Yesterday, I drove to a nearby town & made a visit to the Old Soldier’s Home. Every active duty soldier has 50 cents taken out of his or her paycheck every month. That money goes to take care of their own. Boy would they be proud of how their money is spent. The grounds are well groomed. The buildings are in tip top shape. The people, oh the people that work there are polite, very friendly and you get the sense that they are extremely proud of where and for whom they work. The order in which the place is run is of course, military precision. It seems to run like a well oiled and cared for machine. While on a mini tour of the physical therapy unit, every single thing was spotless, organized & ready for use. The residents as well as the workers welcomed me and were very proud to show off their unit. I certainly felt honored to be brought into their fold, their home. There were residents working at all the physical therapy machines. As I approached some working at rebuilding their body parts, the men of course started to stand to offer their respect and good manners to me. It was very humbling. The word humble is overused. I honestly felt humble. As I prepared to leave the grounds, I saw a couple of trucks and workers hauling out flag after flag after flag. They were preparing to put up all the flags along the drive for today, Veteran’s Day. They were working hard, smiling, happy, very polite and oh yes, you could tell the moment you saw them, they were proud of their work. They had been called to do that particular job at the particular moment in time.
While I have come to appreciate & understand the commercialism of advertising a “free” lunch at Applebee’s or a free donut for every Veteran at Krispy Kreme…
it is certainly a million times better than just ignoring our service members…
It is not how our family will remember.
You won’t find Mr. Right nor his brother nor any of the men he served with having a free lunch at a pizza place or taking a free slice of pie from a Shari’s. You will find them doing what they always do. They will be going about their business of being good husbands, good fathers, good grandfathers and good uncles. They will quietly go about their day. Oh don’t for one moment think that their minds are not swirling with all those who have gone before them. They will never, ever forget. It is who they are. They have passed on to their children the message of honor and respect.
“We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.”