This Memorial Day, I encourage you to remember and reflect on the great sacrifices made by the women and men who have died in military service. Take time to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice allowing us to live with the freedoms we enjoy today. For those of us who have recently suffered a loss of a loved one, honoring the memories of those who have died takes on a renewed importance. We must not forget their names, their lives and their sacrifices.
To remember our fallen heroes, please join me this Memorial Day in dedicating a poppy.
Why a poppy?
Native to western Europe, poppies transformed barren battle grounds with red blooms, and has been a memorial symbol of the fallen since the early 19th century. The practice of wearing a poppy in remembrance was inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae. As a response to John McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael was inspired to write the following poem and in turn, dedicated her life to campaign to have the emblem of the Poppy recognized by governments, veteran agencies and the public.
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
How can I dedicate a poppy?
If you are in the DC area, one way to pay tribute to our fallen heroes is at USAA’s Poppy Wall of Honor on the National Mall from May 24-26th.
You can also dedicate a #PoppyInMemory online by visiting USAA’s virtual poppy wall. After you share your memory of a fallen service member with a poppy, explore other stories and dedications to those who died in military service.
Step 1: Go to usaa.com/memorialday
Step 2: Click “Dedicate” in the top navigation section, and then “Dedicate a Poppy” button near the bottom of the page.
Step 3: Fill in the information requested to dedicate a poppy:
Step 4: View and share your dedication:
Thank you for taking the time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We would love to hear more about the heroes you are honoring by sharing their names below or by joining the social conversation with #HonorThroughAction. We must not forget their stories, so this Memorial Day let’s honor them together.
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (5 and 3 years), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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