Today, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause to honor the fallen. Originally known as Armistice Day, on this day WWI officially ended as Germany signed the Armistice with the Allies, ending what became referred to as “The war to end all wars.”
Known here as “Armistice Day” and by our European allies as “Remembrance Day,” the wearing of a single red poppy on the left lapel became a symbol of such remembrance.
It came simply enough from a poem, “In Flanders Fields.” Written by a Canadian physician Lieutenant-ColonelJohn McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2. McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while sitting in the back of an ambulance at an Advanced Dressing Station outside Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published on December 8 of that year in the London magazine Punch.
It is one of the most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best-known literary works. (source: Wikipedia)
After the losses in both WWII and Korea, President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the day to “Veterans Day” in honor of all who have been lost in war.
In remembrance of all who have fallen and are buried on distant shores and here, the offices of the Airline Division will be closed today. We will reopen for regular business tomorrow morning at 9am. We ask that each of you take a moment to remember those; family and friends, who have been lost, and speak their names aloud today lest they never be forgotten.
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae - 1872-1918
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.