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 blowBetween the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days agoWe 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 throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn 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?]