A friend of my son’s came over today wearing a poppy. I was taken back as he lives on his own and obviously, he wore it with purpose. After a discussion, as I always love to discuss with my son’s friends, I asked what is with the poppy? I have my own reasons for wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day, but I wanted to know his..
He simply said to remember those who fought in the wars and gave their lives for the life we currently take for granted. A tear swelled in my eye and then I asked, do you know the symbols in the poppy? I know it was a stretch, but this was handed down from my grandfather. He did not know. Thus, I told him the story as it was told to me…I hope I got it right as it has been years since the inference was told to me.
Today I gladly pass it onto you:
Many died brutally to ensure we could all live the life we choose. The red is the blood of all those who gave their lives for all of us.
Today we celebrate not only those who gave their lives, but their loved ones that they left behind. In many cases it is their sacrifice. Those left behind: their sacrifices were greater than those who died: fighting for the life we all enjoy. The black represents the mourning of those who didn’t have their loved ones return home.
In many wars, there is the promise of a better life for the future and future generations. It is our job to ensure that promise is kept. For those, who endure war, nothing will ever be the same again. The green leaf , no longer in the poppy we wear, represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity as the war destroyed so much: Lives, land, families, neighbourhoods, countries the world many knew and loved: it is now gone and over.
WW1 formally ended November 11, at 11:00. The leaf should be positioned at 11 o’clock
to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the
time that World War One formally ended.
The poppy should be worn on the left to keep those who died and sacrificed so much close to your heart.
My Grandfather, Douglas Hindson, loved to tell stories as well. It was early morning, in November 1918. Grandpa trained for 1 year for this moment. His first mission as a fighter pilot. Back then the planes were no more than paper and light wood. You shot with a riffle, he told me, propped up in front of you on a spindle. There were no safety gadgets: nothing. Thus, you could shoot your own wings, your propeller, the body of the plane, etc. and many did. There were more deaths to pilots shooting down their own planes and the planes design themselves than actual combat: we can all only imagine what is was like.
This young man, mid teens, gets into this plane. Gets up into the air and sees his first target. He gets a call: the war is over. As he makes his round to turn the other plane tips it’s wings and they all fly home. He said they were almost close enough to see each other’s face.
I can only imagine how both were feeling at the time: relief, passing fear, regret for those who previously themselves in the same circumstance.
One could say it is by pure luck and happenstance my family and I are here today as minutes earlier not only myself, but my mom, aunts, uncle, brothers, sister, my son, cousins, nephews, nieces: we all – may not be…
Thank you – Grandpa – for your story, perspective, and your legacy!!