Poppies and Memorial Day

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. 

John McCrae, 1915.
The poppy referred to in the poem is Papaver rhoeas and commonly called the corn poppy.
When I see a veteran selling poppies during the days leading up to Memorial Day I don’t hesitate to buy one.  I do this to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our country and to honor many friends and family members that have served.  My nephew Brandon is a United States Marine.  A mechanic servicing F-18 fighters, he will be deployed to Japan in September.
We as a country, must never forget that the freedoms enjoyed and sometimes taken for granted would never have been possible for not the loss of life and heroism in the many wars through the years.
The two images below are from the Haverford College Library, Special Collections.  The Army Specialized Training Program (ATSP) utilized the campus and taught engineering, foreign area and language studies as part of the program to add non-combattant service students during WWII.