Every Memorial Day I share this same story. The story of my poppy. . .
For as long as I have owned a car, a scarlet red corn poppy has always hung from my rear view mirror. I was seven years old when my grandfather, a WWI vet, passed away from cancer. At his funeral, members of the VFW handed out "buddy poppies" and I remember my own father, grieving his father's death, hung his on the rear view mirror of our baby blue Ford Fairhaven station wagon. The nights following my Grandpa's death, I recall vivid dreams of laying in never-ending fields of white poppies, that eventually became red, as though sodden with blood. Despite my young age, these recurring dreams were not terrifying, but somehow comforting. The poppy holds a very personal place in my heart, and, only with the wisdom that comes with age, have I fully understood it's special meaning.
So, if you are out and about this holiday weekend stocking up on your BBQ necessities and a VFW or American Legion member hands you that "buddy poppy" in exchange for your donation, kindly tip your hat, shake a hero's hand and say "thank you."
Remember that the poppy is a symbol of hope to remember the living,
but also, of death, and to honor the fallen.