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EndNotes

Posts tagged: Veterans Day

Veterans Day

We buy poppy flowers and wear them on Veterans Day to remember those who died in war. Where did the tradition originate? What is the story behind the poem? On behalf of our community, thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country.

 

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.

 

(S-R archives photo)

Quilts of Valor

Many of us remember the Viet Nam war and the turbulence and rage that erupted within our country during that time. Many people took out their rage in a despicable way: on some of the veterans who returned from that war.

For those of us who have never seen military combat, we cannot fathom the violence, the loss of life, the fear or the aftermath. But we can honor those women and men who served our country.

One woman started a magnificent gesture of kindness and care – giving quilts to combat service members and veterans.  Catherine Roberts, a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador in the early 1970s, became a nurse and then a mid-wife. In 2003, her son deployed for Iraq as a gunner. She founded Quilts of Valor. To date, 91,566 quilts have been presented to members of the military. 

 “Knowing that I was ‘10 seconds from panic’ while he was deployed, I had this vision of a post-deployed warrior struggling with his war demons at 2 in the morning.  I saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in a quilt.  That quilt not only comforted but warded off his war demons.  Thus QOVF was founded.  The mission was simple:  To cover all those wounded warriors with both physical and psychological wounds with a Quilt of Valor.

And for those veterans who returned from Viet Nam? While they may not have received a quilt upon their return, it’s never too late to say “thank you.” 

(S-R archive photo: Sharon Ledbetter, director of the Quilts for Valor Foundation, is seen at the quilt show.)

A day for veterans

We would see flags displayed on Veterans Day when we were children and knew the day was about “soldiers.” I knew my dad had been a Marine and served in China toward the end of WWII.

I have a little jade goat he brought home– long before I was born. But when I was a child, I told people he bought it for me. Little did I understand that he spent not his money there, but his time there – for me.

How did this holiday of honor and remembrance begin? See story.

(S-R archive photo: U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.)

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About this blog

Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

Ask a question: Catherine welcomes questions about aging issues and grief. Email her at endnotescolumn@gmail.com.

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