When I considered getting into the business of flowers, I realized that there would be a lot of emotions connected to what I designed. There are significant dates in all of our lives and most of them involved a flower of some kind. Birth: Mom got flowers; dance recitals: kids get flowers; school dances: both get flowers; weddings: everyone gets flowers; and the final event is usually the passing of a loved one and there are frequently lots of flowers.
It's fitting that on Memorial Day (once called Decoration Day) we focus on the ones who paid the ultimate price. What could you possibly give to someone who has paid the ultimate price? A stranger was willing to die fighting for the cause much bigger than they were. First, you remember them. Never forget them. Speak their name and do it with honor and respect. You knew there would be something in here about flowers though, so here goes.
Poppies. Their seeds are so tiny they are almost like dust. They are scattered by the wind and wait for spring to emerge, when the soil has been disturbed. European soil, turned under by World War I battles and burials must have been full of these little seeds because in the spring the Red Field Poppy blooms covered the ground. They became both a symbol of death and new life in recovery. Flowers carry lots of meaning and symbolism.
When we consider the meaning of Memorial Day -- the day to honor those who lost their lives in battle or as a result of injuries from battle, it is fitting that a red flower stands as a reminder that our freedom isn't free. It came with a high price and our very own hills and creeks ran red with the blood of soldiers who fought in the battle of Pea Ridge in the Civil War. I learn something new each time I visit our Pea Ridge National Military Park and as we watched the film, and demonstration of the cannon this weekend I was again saddened by the harsh realities of war. I hope I never have to experience it myself.
As this weekend kicks off the start of summer, the season for BBQs and picnics, swimming and vacations, may we pause and remember the reason for this long weekend. May the Red Poppy always remind you of their sacrifices.
"In Flanders Fields"
by John McCrae, May 1915
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.
Editor's note: Mechel Wall is owner and operator of both The Cottage Flower Shop and Wallflower Farm. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.Editorial on 06/06/2018
Print Headline: Poppies help honor war dead