Happy Memorial Day weekend! If I could, I would give you a bouquet of red poppies…
This Memorial Day likely won’t look the same as Memorial Days of the past. (Well, it shouldn’t, in my opinion.) While the corona-craziness has changed the scope of our gatherings, (well, it should, in my opinion), the meaning behind Memorial Day hasn’t changed. And that’s what’s important.
On Memorial Day, we commemorate those who died in service to our country.
Did you know the red poppy is the symbol of both Memorial Day and Veterans Day? I only learned of this poppy connection a few years ago while doing book research for Gene, Everywhere.
After WWI, red poppies were the first flowers to bloom across war-torn European battlefields. The seeds had lay dormant for some time, but after such disturbance to the land, they germinated again.
Imagine how that must have appeared—a field of vibrant poppies standing strong in a place of so much bloodshed.
Nature healing the land.
Gene and Poppies
Gene, my father-in-law, stayed with my husband and me for six weeks in 2012. While he was with us, we worked a jigsaw puzzle together. The puzzle began as something for us to do, a way to occupy Gene beyond the constant drone of the television. What originally felt impossible—a 1,000-piece puzzle—came together in much the way my relationship with Gene formed.
Piece by frustrating piece. Day by life-changing day.
Here’s where a slight coincidence comes in. The puzzle depicted a flower arrangement, and at the center, a beautiful red-orange poppy. My father-in-law was a veteran of WWII. Fortunately, he returned from war and lived a long, selfless life. But I know with certainty, if necessary, he would have given his life without a second thought. He was part of the greatest generation.
Gene didn’t officially come into my life until he was almost eighty years old. And when he stayed with us in Dallas—six weeks that completely altered my life—he was ninety. Imagine all the people whose lives were not changed by their brothers or uncles or grandfathers or fathers, or, yes, fathers-in-law, because so many soldiers never returned home.
“With freedom comes responsibility.” Eleanor Roosevelt
We have a responsibility to remember those who gave everything.
“Without memory, there is no culture.
Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.” Elie Wiesel
This Memorial Day weekend, let’s honor those who have sacrificed more than we can ever imagine.
Let’s remember the reasons behind the sacrifice.
Let’s remember fallen soldiers who make it possible for us to wake every morning, complain about wearing masks, fret over a cancelled summer vacation, and moan about the price of ground beef. Because these truly are privileges.
This Memorial Day Weekend let’s remember to be kind and grateful, to look for the good.
Happy Memorial Day 2020!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.