Honor Flights

While dysfunction at the national level is rife, good work continues among those of us trying to make the U.S. a better country. Exempli gratia, the Honor Flight Network.

I learned of the network through the American Legion, of which I am a proud member. To belong to the legion, one must have served the country in the military. In other words, all members are veterans. Our work is to assist veterans who need help. Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day, we give out red paper poppies to remind the public of veterans’ sacrifices. In return, we accept donations. We use the money to assist organizations founded to support veterans in need.

The red poppy symbolism is important. It comes from the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. The text:

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.


This poem, in the form of a rondeau, was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. It was originally published on December 8, 1915. It has become an extended watchword for all who honor our veterans.

More tomorrow.

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