Armistice

11th Hour, 11th day, 11th Month

I know you Yanks don’t commemorate the Armistice (fair enough - you acknowledge your vets in May) but for all the Brits and Canucks on this site, here’s a little video from Terry Kelly of Dartmouth Nova Scotia - http://www.army.gc.ca/chief_l…6mb.wmv

If this doesn’t bring a lump to your throat, I don’t know what will.

Actually Bill, Friday IS Veterans Day here in the US. It is a day to honor ALL veterans. We have Memorial Day in May to honor our fallen soldiers.

Thank you US military personnel past and present! Godspeed!

TG

Eyup!

Yes, a subject dear to my heart. I visit the battlefields of France and Flanders every year and pay my respects at the cemeteries scattered throughout the countryside. Many of the locations are stunningly beautiful, and the peace and tranquility that abide there heightens their poingnancy.
There are only a few of the Tommies left now, not even a handful. Soon the events of 1914 - 1918 will have passed from living memory, but the legacy of freedom will remain.

We Will Remember Them


Captain E.R. Creyke of Rawcliffe, Goole
Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Killed 5th July 1916 aged 29
Buried in Authille British Cemetery, Somme, France

Quote (gtr4him @ Nov. 09 2005,23:13)
Actually Bill, Friday IS Veterans Day here in the US. It is a day to honor ALL veterans. We have Memorial Day in May to honor our fallen soldiers.

Thank you US military personnel past and present! Godspeed!

TG

My bad. I knew about Memorial Day but was under the impression that it replaced November 11th in the States. I think I thought that because you don't seem to wear the poppies.

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I think I thought that because you don’t seem to wear the poppies.


??? OK. I’m clueless? Help an ignorant American out here wil’ ya?

TG
Quote (gtr4him @ Nov. 10 2005,13:42)
I think I thought that because you don't seem to wear the poppies.


??? OK. I'm clueless? Help an ignorant American out here wil' ya?

TG
"Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray..."

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
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.


In Canada and the UK we wear poppies as a reminder of the fallen.

In Canada, the poppies are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion for the benefit of the vets. No politician, or News Reporter would be caught NOT wearing a poppy in early November.

Hey that’s great Bill.

Thanks for sharing that. :)

TG

"In Canada and the UK we wear poppies as a reminder of the fallen."

Same thing in Australia. My Mum sells them every year, proceeds go to the RSL (Returned Servicemans League) - same thing as the VFW stateside. Lots of Aussies lying in the ground at Flanders too.

Eyup!

The idea of using the Poppy as a symbol of remembrance was that of Moina Micheal who was an American
She was indeed inspired by John Macrae’s poem and the Poppy was first adopted as a tribute to US veterans. She even wrote her own poem.

“And now the Torch and Poppy red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.”

– from “We Shall Keep the Faith,”
a poem by Moine Belle Michael


On November 9th 1948 the US Post Office issued a commemorative stamp to mark her work.
In 1999 she was inducted as a "Georgia Woman of Achievement"
There is a marble bust of her in the Georgia Capitol Museum

TG - you’re welcome. Thank you for your interest.

kymarcus - Sorry, I should have mentioned the Aussies. And let us never forget what happened at Gallipoli.

Beefy Steve - Thank you for that. I wasn’t clear on the history and you’ve filled in a significant chunk. Way back in the dark ages when I went to school we were required to memorize McRae’s poem and I can still recite it from memory. I didn’t understand it then, now I’m grateful.

BUT… what did you all think of the video and song? (BTW, I have no connection with the artist, I just really liked it.)

In the 50’s and 60’s when I was a kid (wee bastard, Ali), poppies were sold and worn on Memorial Day and possibly Veterans Day. They usually were artificial flowers.

Seems that tradition fell by the wayside, at least in my part of the US.

Dave

Eyup!

Now everyone knows about the Poppy, a message to our UK contingent.
Buy an extra Poppy so you can wear one on July 1st 2006. It’s the 90th anniversary of the Battle Of The Somme, the bloodiest day of the Great War.

Steve

Hi All:
My older Boy was born on this date back in 1970… It was indeed a Great Day…

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It’s the 90th anniversary of the Battle Of The Somme, the bloodiest day of the Great War.

Steve


We lost a lot of Canadian Boys in that Battle, as well… It seems they were put out there for the Lead and Gun Powder… I did a lot of Playing at one of the local Legions… It was called the Somme Branch Legion… The Boys that were left did a lot of Rembering at that place…

Bill…

Eyup!
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We lost a lot of Canadian Boys in that Battle, as well…


You did indeed Bill, the sacrifice made by the Newfoundlanders is well known. I have visited the memorial and payed my respects many times.
The Caribou memorial stands tall over the battlefield, which is preserved and now known as Newfoundland Park.

Rather a long quote I’m afraid, but perhaps of interest:

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The poppy was an American idea, inspired by a Canadian and marketed by a Frenchwoman, reports Brian Harding

The red poppy of Remembrance is a very British institution - or so it seems. Worn by millions each November, it represents the sacrifice associated with two world wars and many conflicts since. Indeed, the rows of poppy crosses planted in a quiet churchyard or the drift of scarlet petals in a silent Albert Hall can stir deep emotions.


In Flanders Fields: the inspiration for the poppy as a mark of remembrance came from a poem

Nor could the Royal British Legion have done its work without the poppy: since 1921, it has generated an astonishing sum of money - £190 million in the UK in the past 10 years alone - to relieve distress among ex-Servicemen and their families.

Yet the origins of the Remembrance poppy lie elsewhere. It was an American idea, inspired by a Canadian and brought to the Legion by a Frenchwoman. And even the connection with November 11 is almost by chance.

The association of the poppy with the battlefield began with a poem. It was written on the bank of a Belgian canal by a Canadian medical officer, John McCrae, as he sat awaiting casualties at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres and included the poignant lines: In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, / Between the crosses, row on row. The poem, In Flanders Fields, was published in Punch in 1915.

In 1918, the year in which Colonel McCrae died of pneumonia in France, his verses were reprinted in America in the Ladies’ Horns Journal. They made a profound impression on at least one reader. Moina Michael was from Georgia, the daughter of an American Civil War veteran.

A 49-year-old teacher, she had made it her wartime task to help train YMCA workers at Columbia University in New York. On the day that the Armistice was signed, November 11, 1918, a conference of YMCA leaders was taking place. On impulse, Miss Michael went to Wanamaker’s Department Store, bought a bouquet of red paper poppies - all that she could find - and, with McCrae’s words in mind, plucked out the flowers and handed them to delegates to wear in memory of the fallen.

Miss Michael then began a campaign for the Flanders poppy to be adopted as the national symbol of sacrifice. In 1920, the American Legion National Convention gave its formal approval; meanwhile, thanks to the publicity the campaign had generated, the little red flower’s amazing fundraising possibilities were starting to emerge.

In June 1919, in Milwaukee, patriotic Americans decked themselves with poppies taken from a refreshment stand for troops returning home from overseas, leaving generous donations in their place.

The ladies manning the stall used the money to help disabled veterans. The following year, 1920, on the Saturday before Memorial Day, the day in May that Americans have set aside each year since the Civil War to honour veterans, 50,000 artificial poppies were distributed in Milwaukee in return for donations.

From Milwaukee, the idea spread and, as Memorial Day 1921 approached, throughout the American Legion and its supporters, demand grew for poppies. The call was met by Frenchwoman Anne Guerin, who ran an American-French charity to help French orphans of the war, and who was already using artificial poppies to raise funds.


Poppy pioneer: Moina Michael
Having supplied America, it occurred to Guerin that Britain might also be a customer for her poppies. A few months later, in August 1921, she was knocking on the door of the newly-formed British Legion’s headquarters near Victoria Station in London.

Her proposal met with a mixed reception. On the face of it, the idea seemed good; the British Legion certainly needed funds urgently for its work. But it was nearly six years since McCrae’s poem had been published; would the British public associate poppies with wartime sacrifice? Moreover, who was going to sell these poppies? And when? The anniversary of the outbreak of the war, August 4, previously the main fundraising occasion, had already passed.

A big question was how many poppies to order. But the Legion was bold and decided in September to order nine million and sell them on the next suitable occasion - the forthcoming Armistice Day anniversary on November 11 - barely leaving time to set up the nationwide organisation needed.

The first Poppy Day was an astonishing success, partly due to Earl Haig’s personal endorsement: Haig had not only founded the British Legion, he was widely regarded as the man who had won the war. Partly, it was the enthusiasm of the volunteers with their trays of poppies. But mainly, the public immediately identified the poppy with the sacrifice which November 11 recalled, proving again that Moina Michael’s intuition had been right. In most places, poppies were completely sold out by mid-morning.

Nor did public support for the poppy waver in succeeding years. But its message could not prevent another war and for future generations it would represent sacrifice in the North Atlantic, in the skies over Kent, on the Normandy beaches and in the hills of Burma as much as in the Flanders mud and on the beaches of the Dardenelles. Today, many think too of lives lost or blighted in conflicts such as the Falklands or Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, what had been the poppy’s story in the land whence the idea had sprung? Unlike its British counterpart, the American Legion does not run its own welfare schemes; instead, it works to ensure that government meets its obligations to war veterans, maintaining powerful lobbying organisations in Washington and elsewhere. But the Legion Auxiliary, formed from the wives, mothers and other female relatives of those who had fought, has always given the veterans practical help. Hence the Auxiliary took on the poppy programme.

As with the British Legion, whose poppy factory opened in 1922, disabled veterans now make the poppies. Sold on Veterans’ Day they enable the ladies of the Auxiliary to help those in need. The operation is smaller than in Britain: in America, Veterans’ Day poppy sales generate around a fifth of the £20 million raised annually by the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

And what of the woman who inspired all of this - Moina Michael? So meagre were her resources when she retired from teaching through illness that from 1940, the American Legion felt the need to make her a special award of $100 a month. She was also honoured by the Legion and the Auxiliary for distinguished service, and by both universities with which she had been associated, Columbia and the University of Georgia. She died in 1944 and her marble bust stands in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia.

Moina Michael well deserves her place in America’s hall of fame. Countless British, Dominion and Commonwealth men and women whose sufferings the Remembrance poppy has helped to relieve are also in her debt.