Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 29, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 2

Mountain View News Saturday, May 29, 2021 2 HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY 2021HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY 2021Mountain View News Saturday, May 29, 2021 2 HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY 2021HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY 2021
VFW 3208 Honor Gaurd in 2018 led by Duncan MacGillivray (left). Photo by Mary Lou Caldwell


Memorial Day is Monday, May 31! Learn all about Memorial Day,
including the true meaning of this day, how it differs from Veterans 
Day, and why the red poppy is a traditional symbol—with unexpected 

This U.S. federal holiday is observed on the last Monday of May 
to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the 


On both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, it’s customary to spend 
time remembering and honoring the countless veterans who have 
served the United States throughout the country’s history. However, 
there is a distinction between the two holidays: 

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while 
in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in 
battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the 
purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made 
the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We spend time remembering 
those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on 
their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy 
today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their 
grieving families and loved ones who are left behind.

 Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL who 
served—in wartime or peacetime—regardless of whether they died 
or survived. Veterans Day is always observed officially on November 
11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls. Read more 
about Veterans Day.

Remember: Raise the flag with honor and respect! See guidelines for 
flying the American Flag. 


Traditionally, on Memorial Day (U.S.), people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers often place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance takes 
place at 3:00 p.m. local time. The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day—or Decoration 
Day, as it was first known—is unclear. In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America’s need for 
a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were 
held in towns and cities throughout the nation. 
After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. 

A Lasting LegacyNo less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of 
Congress; it is now celebrated annually on the last Monday in May. 

Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection, which includes more than a thousand photographs 
from the time. 


In the war-torn battlefields of Europe, the common red field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to reappear. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating 
when the ground was disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting of World War 1. 

John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, witnessed the war first hand and was inspired to write the now-famous poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915. (See below for the poem.) He saw the poppies 
scattered throughout the battlefield surrounding his artillery position in Belgium. 

The Poppy LadyIn November 1918, days before the official end of the war, an American 
professor named Moina Michael wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the 
Faith,” which was inspired by McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.” In her poem 
(also shown below), she mentioned wearing the “poppy red” to honor the 
dead, and with that, the tradition of adorning one’s clothing with a single 
red poppy in remembrance of those killed in the Great War was born. 
Moina herself came to be known—and honored—as “The Poppy Lady.” 

The Symbol Spreads AbroadThe wearing of the poppy was traditionally done on Memorial Day in the 
United States, but the symbolism has evolved to encompass all veterans 
living and deceased, so poppies may be worn on Veterans Day as well. 
Not long after the custom began, it was adopted by other Allied nations,
including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, 
where it is still popular today. In these countries, the poppy is worn on 
Remembrance Day (November 11). 

Today, poppies are not only a symbol of loss of life, but also of recovery 
and new life, especially in support of the servicemen who survived 
the war but suffered from physical and psychological injuries long after 
it ended. Read the text of both poems below, and learn more about the 
inspiration for the poppy here. 


by John McCrae, May 1915 

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 lieIn 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. 


by Moina Michael, November 1918 

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threwAnd holding high, we keep the FaithWith All who died. 

We cherish, too, the poppy redThat grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skiesThat blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red 
Of the flower that blooms above the dead 
In Flanders Fields. 

And now the Torch and Poppy RedWe wear in honor of our dead. 
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wroughtIn Flanders Fields. 


We would like say thank you to those men and women who paid the ultimate price. We will 
always remember the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. We are deeply grateful. 

In remembering the fallen, we also honor their loved ones: spouses, fathers, mothers, sons,
daughters, sisters, brothers, friends. There really aren’t proper words, but we do live in gratitude 
each and every day for the precious gift that they have given to us. 

How do you honor the memory of veterans on Memorial Day? Tell us your traditions in the 
comments below. 

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