Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. An official wreath-laying ceremony is held each Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, while parades and other celebrations are held in states around the country. Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans--living or dead--but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
A recognized symbol of Veteran's Day is the red corn poppy which is officially named Papaver rhoeas. Known by one of the most famous poems in World War I "In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow, among the crosses row on row". This flower grows on the battlefields of Europe. In World War I, soldiers who were returning home, reported seeing battlefields covered with red poppies blooming. In their hearts, the red poppies symbolized the blood shed and sacrifice made by the fallen soldiers. After the war, groups began making red paper poppies as a way to raise money for the wounded veteran's and selling them on Armistice Day (Veteran's Day) on November 11th. The red poppy remains a symbol of solidarity for veteran's.
The adoption of the poppy flower as a symbol of remembrance was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian medical officer during the war. In 1915, he wrote "In Flanders Fields," a poem published in "Punch" magazine that begins:
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.
Because Flanders had heavy fighting during the war, the flourishing poppies symbolized the blood that was shed. Today, artificial paper poppies are sold by veteran organizations and worn on clothing.
Britain, France, Australia and Canada also commemorate the veterans of World Wars I and II on or near November 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day, while Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every November 11.
If you know a Veteran or someone currently serving in our country's uniform, take the time today to thank them for their service and sacrifices. Also, thank their Spouses and Families to for their service and sacrifice.
On a personal note, thank you E for keeping us safe, serving our country and keeping us out of harm's way!! I love you!!