Flanders Fields

My California upbringing, full of sunshine and optimism, always involved scattering the seeds of Corn Poppies on Veterans Day. My mother always bought the packets and took us on a walk and we sprinkled seeds here and there in places in The City that could use some cheering up, and for a while I thought the holiday was all tied to planting wildflowers.

One year I was in London on Veterans Day and everyone I saw was wearing a bright red paper poppy buttonaire.

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.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

My grandparents were in The Great War
My parents were in World War II

As a late-in-life blessing for my parents, I’ve been lucky these conflicts have escaped my generation, but —and I mean this sincerely— we are facing the same fascism as the previous generations, we’re just facing it as a threat from within.

I hope everyone scatters some poppy seeds today. It’s a good tradition.

[I just realized that this post did not publish as scheduled — Thanks a lot Comcast, but better late than never, maybe?]

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1 Response to Flanders Fields

  1. MDavis says:

    My hubby did not escape the wars. He tells of PTD meetings where the younger surviving cannon fodder, like from Afghanistan or Iraq, mocked the Nam vets because they losttheir war. He said the Nam vets stood up and cleared the room. Said it wasn’t even that hard for a bunch of geezers to send the insulting parties packing.
    Of course, those wars weren’t against fascism. They were much more the sort of thing Smedley Butler (blessed be his name) spoke out about.


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