One of the symbols associated with veterans and those who served in the military is that of the bright red poppy. During Memorial Day you see vets handing out these fabric flowers in exchange for small donations. We are also using this symbol to help celebrate Veteran’s Day, which is November 11.
Where does the poppy and its association with war and military service come from? It is believed to come from a poem by John McCrae, which was written about 1915, although references to poppies go back much, much further. The poem reads:
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.
Although it is called “Veteran’s Day” in the United States, November 11 is celebrated around the world as a day to remember those who fought and died in battle along with those who have served, and are serving, in the military. In other parts of the world it is known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day. November 11 is the anniversary of the day the Armistice that was signed to bring an end to World War I, the worst war anyone had ever seen at that time.
It was Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. President, that first declared Armistice Day a holiday in the United States. When he did so, he stated:
“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
He proclaimed this on November 11, 1919. Congress then passed a resolution on June 4, 1926 that asked then president Calvin Coolidge, to acknowledge the date with appropriate ceremonies. Then, in May of 1938, the date was made an official holiday.
It was in 1953 when a man who owned a shoe store, named Afred King, who decided the day should go beyond remembering those who served in World War I. He was from Emporia, Kansas. He began a campaign to honor ALL veterans and it was taken up by the Emporia Chamber of Commerce. Then a U.S. Representative took up the cause and President Dwight D. Eisenhower turned the holiday into Veterans Day.
It is a day that should not recognize politics. It is not about the reasons for war or anything like that. It is just a time to acknowledge and recognize the people who serve in our military and have since the country first began. They are the heroes and they deserve to be recognized for the sacrifices they make whether in war or in peace.
K Squared Communications is proud to celebrate Veterans Day. We are proud to have donated to a local organization that helps veterans. It is thanks to our clients, employees, business partners and friends that we are able to do so.