Annual Memorial Day Service – Bring Flowers

May 26th, 2014 8am

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
John F. Kennedy

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. What history tells us though, is a much more poignant story of love and loss covered in flowers. Those who began leaving the flowers on the graves were the women and children that were left behind. What they lovingly did to remember their loved ones also reminded those around them of the sacrifice these men made for our freedom. The tradition of leaving flowers continued year after year in towns all over the country. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a soldier, physician and poet wrote a poem after his close friend died next to him in a horrific battle in Canada called “In Flanders Fields.” Here is an excerpt: “ 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….” In 1915 a women named Moina Michael replied with her own poem: “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.”She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit service men in need. On a trip to the United States, Madam Guerin from France learned of this new custom. When she returned home, she began selling artificial poppies as well. This tradition spread to other countries. By 1922 the VFW championed this idea and started the “Buddy” poppy program that sold artificial poppies all over the nation made by disabled veterans to benefit the widows and orphans left behind by the war. I would personally like to invite you to join us for our annual Memorial Day Service that takes place at 8am yearly on Memorial Day and to bring flowers in memory of those who gave their lives. Your small act of kindness may seem so simple to you but will bring great joy to those that remain. Vietnam War Memorial: northwest corner of Ocean View and Honolulu Ave.