Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eleventh Hour, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Month

In Flanders Field

In Flanders field 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 with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~Major John McCrae, May 1915.~

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That 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 red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

Written by Miss Moina Belle Michael
An American, On Nov. 9, 1918, the Saturday before the Armistice was signed,
she read Col. John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields and
it made such a impression on her, that she wrote this reply to it.

Ninety years ago, on the eleventh hour of this day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, was signed the armistice that officially ended The Great War.

And since 1919, when President Wilson officially declared that November 11 would be called Armistice Day, this day celebrated the end of The Great War. Congress, in 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday -- a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.

That was what my Dad always called November 11 -- Armistice Day. But, then, he, after all, had fought in this Great War and so November 11th was very meaningful to him.

But then, came another War and The Great War became known as World War I and this second war was known as World War II.

An Emporia, Kansan decided in 1953 that November 11 should be expanded to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. He campaigned to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veteran's Day. He was successful and during President Eisenhower's term, Congress amended this act in 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans" and it has been Veterans Day ever since.

This day has always held special meaning to me as both the daughter of a Veteran and the wife of a Veteran (who served in Viet Nam). I, along with other patriotic citizens of my small town on the prairie, shall be at our National Cemetery today to participate in the honoring of not only those who are buried there but of all Veterans of all wars.


Mary Bergfeld said...

Martha, I share your respect for those who have fought and died for our country. This is a very thoughtful, and much appreciated, post. Thanks....Mary

Anonymous said...

Reading these poems brought tears to my eyes. During my junior high days in the early '60's, we could buy "Buddy Poppies" (an artificial poppy) to wear to commerate the day. Thank you for helping us pause and remember these men.