From the barren, rumbled, desolated battlefields, the poppies grew. Seeds that laid dormant for decades bloomed from the disturbed earth of battle. Hence, the poppy became a symbol of remembrance for Veterans Day which initially commemorated the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Almost hundred years later, World War I with 38 million casualties, still remains the deadliest conflict in history.
I grew up in a military community with army, navy and air force bases. Veterans Day was a big event and as a 6-year-old, I went into hysterics when I saw my dad pin a poppy on the lapel of his suit. In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, there was a field of poisoned poppies that made people fall into a deep sleep. My mother assured me there was no need to worry, my dad’s poppy was plastic.
For a number of years after, I believed the actual poppy flower to be poisonous. In 1954, the US expanded Veterans Day to celebrate the service of all US military veterans. So, what’s the holiday? A celebration of all US military veterans or commemoration of the end of World War I? It’s great to celebrate military veterans but, is it at the loss of remembrance the end of WWI? Or does WWI need a special commemoration? For the years I associated Veterans Day with war; the end of war and those who fight wars. Just as I learned more about poppies, I learned more about Veterans Day.
The congressional act to create the holiday stated, …Veterans Day is a legal holiday-a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace. End of confusion. Commemorating the end of World War I and the start of peace; celebrating the veterans of the military whose ultimate goal is peace. Veterans Day is peace.