Poppies are a very present symbol this time of year. The end of World War One was on the eleventh day, on the eleventh month at the eleventh hour. The Poppy Flower is a symbol of rememberence and of hope for a brighter, non-violent future. The poem that inspired this was written by John McCrae. McCrae was a Canadian officer and surgeon. At the age of 41 he reenlisted along with his friend, Alex Helmer. The both were present during the Second Battle of Ypres, which lasted 6 weeks and included the first time Germans deployed poison gas. Helmer’s friend died during this battle as did the Chaplain. As Surgeon Helmer held the funeral for his fallen friend, and this poem came to life. McCrae died of pneumonia on January 28, 1918, while supervising a Canadian field hospital.

This poem is the first thing that comes to mind each year while there are rememberences around the globe for the people who suffered and fell during human conflict. In the United States we have Veterans Day in which the people who have worn a uniform in one of the armed services are recognized. There is such saddness in the poem. There is a cry to take up the quarrel. Yet, there is a recognition of how much life there is in the silence, in the peace. The poppies blowing in the wind. Red for rememberence and white for peace.

What does this all have to do with Maya Angelo being grateful for a say? Any Day? Each day is a day to be grateful we have a chance to choose peace. We have a chance to be grateful for the breath of life and honor that by not thinking that extreme violence is the way to solve our world issues. In gratitude we choose cooperation. In gratitude we recognize every little piece of the day that we are able to explore with hope.

“If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep”

Keeping the faith is to make sure nothing like this is even possible in the now or in the future.

Grateful that we here now are able to remember, and have this wonderful day because of the lives of those remembered in natures blooms.

In Flanders Fields

The poem by John McCrae

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.

A New Day