May is National Military Appreciation Month

 

happy-memorial-day-wallpaper-4Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor our fallen soldiers. A tradition that started after the Civil War. Our country has witnessed many battles and sacrificed millions in the name of freedom. Sacrifice comes in many forms: death, quality of life, family stability, and injuries both mental and physical. May is filled with days set aside to recognize these sacrifices. It starts with a recognition of American freedom and affirmation of loyalty to our country, then several days are set aside to recognize specific conflicts and the families/spouses who experienced their own sacrifices of an uncertain future, a loss of a family member in their daily life and the struggle of reintegration when their soldier returns home.

Several traditions have been created as a result of acknowledging these losses.

Stand Down is a collaborative event, coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and community agencies who serve the veteran community. This tradition began after the Vietnam Conflict. Stand downs provide surplus food and goods to veterans and their families in need.

A poppy is given out on Memorial day in remembrance of the fallen. Here is the story behind this tradition.

“Buddy Poppys”  are inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field” in 1915, Moina Michael composed a poem which mentions a poppy being the color of blood spilled on the battlefield. She conceived the idea of wearing artificial red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of the war dead. She sold them to friends and co-workers, with the money going to servicemen in need.

Later, a French woman learned of the custom begun by Ms. Michael, and made artificial red poppies to raise money for war-orphaned children and widowed women. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies to benefit war orphans in France and Belgium. When the league disbanded, the French woman approached the VFW for help, and before Memorial Day 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies.

As we prepare to again remember those Americans fallen in battle, buy a buddy poppy if you have the opportunity and remember these words penned by Ms. Michael in her poem:

“We cherish too, the poppy red                                In respect and honor

That grows on fields were valor led

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.”

(Wikipedia) 

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to act as support staff for the fifth annual Women’s Warrior Retreat for female combat veterans. The Cowgirl Co-Op provides a beautiful setting for healing to occur. The women are encouraged to engage in fun, creative activities to allow them time to relax and spend time with one another.  While they created pottery, planted herb gardens, tended to farm animals and sat around a camp fire, they became comfortable and began to share their war stories. On the last night of the retreat a colt was born and with him the hope of a healthier future.

660-poppy-remember

 

One Comment

  • Sherry Jones
    Posted May 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    American Legion Auxiliary members are proud to remember our Veterans and sharing poppies in May! 🙂

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