Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Today we celebrate Memorial Day the traditional opening of the summer season. Memorial Day always marks holiday barbecues, going to the beach, visiting with friends and family. But it means so much more. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former sailors and soldiers placed flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Over the years the celebrations have grown and taken on new meaning. One of the flowers I always associate with Memorial Day is the poppy. When I was reading about Memorial Day I came upon the poem which inspired the use of this flower. I share this poem with you.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

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.

When I read this powerful poem I thought about the many lives that have been affected by war. Perhaps today is a good day for us to pray in gratitude to all those who served and all those who continue to serve today. May they always know our gratitude and support as they continue the struggle for peace, life and liberty.

Sr. Pat

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