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Remembrance Day

None should be forgotten

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
      Do you know the story behind the poppies artist Brad Wells has drawn in honor of Veterans Day for Coloring Corner in this week’s paper?
      Red poppies came to be a recognizable symbol on both sides of the Atlantic after World War I. But the flowers had achieved their symbolic force a century earlier, after death marched through Europe with Napoleon’s armies. The hearty flowers were the first to take root in fields, where they were said to rise up among the bodies of dead soldiers.
      The poppies returned with World War I, when Canadian doctor Lt. Col. John McCrae put their resurrection into words that people couldn’t help but remember. 
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row …
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.
     American YMCA volunteer Moina Mitchell made the poppy a symbol, which was adopted by the National American Legion.
     The day the war-ending Armistice was signed, November 11, became Remembrance Day in England, with first silk and then paper poppies sold and bought and worn in remembrance. Money from their sale benefited veterans, and making them became an occupation for disabled veterans.
     The poppy’s symbolism was extended, primarily in Great Britain, by the Peace Pledge Union, in remembrance of all victims of wars, with the slogan Wear a White Poppy for Peace.
     Perhaps you’ll combine the colors.
     You won’t see many poppies red or white in people’s lapels this Veterans Day — though I remember them from my girlhood. 
     But remembrance remains a duty.
     We live up to that duty in many ways. As a nation, we build monuments and memorials.
     Re-enactors dramatize not only battles but also — as you’ll read in Diana Dinsick’s story on father and son team Vince and Vincent Turner in this week’s Remembrance issue, the fuller experience of a nation at war. 
      Writers and storytellers recount the experience and memories of those who served. So for the centennial of World War I, I’m recounting the inherited story of A.L. Dixon, an Illinoisan who served as a quartermaster in Fort Taylor in Kentucky. Read that story, if you’d like, at
     At Bay Weekly, we keep our beloved columnist, World War II Seabee veteran Bill Burton’s pledge, repeating the name of Henry Beckwith, his high school chum and Naval Airman who lost his life in the war Bill survived. 
     As Bill wrote in these pages, “I promised him he would never be forgotten. Nor should any of the others be forgotten.”