Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Nov 12 2008

Remembrance Day Poppy Day

Remembrance Day – Poppy Day

Armistice Day – the official ending of the war to end all wars

Remembrance Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in November. The date of the signing of the armistice that ended the war is November 11th, 1918 at 11 o clock a.m. In Britain, Remembrance Day is also known as Poppy Day where it is traditional to wear an artificial poppy to honor those who served in the armed services. First hand accounts from survivors of the bloody conflicts of WWI including several heart-wrenching poems published during the aftermath of WWI, were paramount in moving civilians to honor those who fought and died. The huge loss of life and devastation of this war, particularly fought in Flanders fields, motivated survivors to start some of the long standing traditions of honoring military personnel all over the World. The November 11th holiday is still called ‘Armistice Day’ in many countries, in Poland is called ‘Polish Independence Day’. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed in the United States to’ Veterans Day’ and to ‘Remembrance Day’ in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. ‘Armistice Day’ remains an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium, known as the ‘Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields’.

The first poem is by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who served as a Doctor in the Canadian Military during WWI. He wrote “Flanders Field” and in answer to the mournful poem, an American – Moira Michael wrote a poem in reply.

Her poem was written in 1918, and is titled “We shall keep the faith“. Little did anyone know that McCrae wold die in battle that same year. In this poem she promised to wear a poppy in honor of the soldiers who fought so gallantly and died. The tradition of wearing a poppy in remembrance was born. The Royal Canadian Legion, who sell poppy’s to fund their veteran programs, suggest that poppies be worn on the left lapel, or as close to the heart as possible. Still today, beautiful wreaths of poppy’s are continued to be placed at war memorials and at the graves of those who served, honoring all who served, who fought and died in the ‘war to end all wars’ and to commemorate the armistice signing on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”.

poppy in bloom

© 2007 photo courtesy L Watts

In Flanders Fields

1915 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.

the answer poem

We shall keep the faith

1918 by Moira Michael

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,

Sleep sweet – to rise anew;

We caught the torch you threw;

And holding high we kept

The faith with those who died.

We cherish, too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flower that blooms

above the dead In Flanders’ Fields.

And now the torch and poppy red

Wear in honour of our dead

Fear not that ye have died for naught

We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught In Flanders’ Fields.

Flower of the Eternal Sleep
2007 by Josie Whitehead

Flower of the eternal sleep
Watching with the ones who weep.
You, whose lives, so short in bloom,
Saw such bloodshed, death and gloom.

You trembled to the sound of guns
Which tore to death beloved sons.
You fluttered, died.
before your time –
Dropped blood red petals in their prime.

Crimson poppies ‘neath the clouds –
Short lived, yet colourful and proud;
Now worn by humans with such pride
Remembering those who bravely died.

You represent young lives cut short –
Those who, for freedom, bravely fought.
Flower of the eternal sleep –
Silently your vigil keep.

For the Fallen
1914 by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

© 2008 oodles of infOrmation

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Oct 24 2008

Oklahoma Information

Oklahoma Information


Capital City:Oklahoma City
Oklahoma official nickname:The Sooner State
Old standard abbreviation:Okla
new postal code abbreviation:OK

Oklahoma Official State Flower
Phoradendron serotinum

Oklahoma Official State WildFlower
Indian Blanket Flower
‘Gaillardia pulchella’

Oklahoma State Tree
Eastern Redbud Tree
‘Fabaceae Cercis canadensis’

The Eastern Redbud can be grown as either a large shrub or small tree. The trunk is short, often twisted and the branches spread beautifully. The leaves of the redbud are wide, from 3-5 inches long, thin and papery, and may be slightly hairy below. The flowers appear before the leaves and are very showy, light to a dark pink in color and approximately 1/2 inch long. Blooms appear in clusters in March to May. Many see these beautiful trees lined along interstates or highways and notice the breathtaking beautiful color but do not realize they are Redbud trees. Oklahoma celebrates Arbor day the last full week in March.

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Oct 24 2008

New Mexico Information

New Mexico Information


Capital City:Santa Fe
New Mexico official nickname:The Land of Enchantment
Old standard abbreviation:N.M.
new postal code abbreviation:NM

New Mexico Official State Flower
Yucca flower
Yucca glauca

New Mexico State Tree
Pinyon Pine
‘Pinaceae Pinus edulis’

The Pinyon Pine is a small tree with an irregular rounded crown, and usually has two needles per fascicle. The stiff needles are from 1-2 inches long, coarse, curved, very thick, and bluish – green or yellow-green in color. The flowers of the male pines are red, cylindrical, and grow in clusters near the ends of the branches. The females flowers are purplish at the branch tips.The Pine Cones are ovoid, around 2 inches long, brown in color with very thick scales. Each scale contains two very large edible “pine nuts”. New Mexico celebrates Arbor day the second Friday in March.

© 2008 oodles of infOrmation

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