Red Poppies and Decoration Day

It’s Memorial Day, and as we in the United States celebrate with barbecues and other gatherings with family and friends, let’s remember the origins of this much-loved “holiday from work,” and give the day its due.

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It’s Memorial Day, and as we in the United States celebrate with barbecues and other gatherings with family and friends, let’s remember the origins of this much-loved “holiday from work,” and give the day its due.

Our industry is very patriotic. That I know from meeting so many who proudly fly the flag and support our active military service members and those who have returned from battle with injuries both physical and emotional. The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) membership has made iWarriors (iwarriors.org) its adopted cause and it’s a fine example of the way moldmakers and mold industry suppliers honor those who serve. iWarriors was established by Mold Craft Inc. president Tim Bartz and his wife Kim in 2011 to provide support to wounded service men and women who require surgeries and therapy before they can (try to) resume some kind of “normal” life back home (read all about it via coverage from MMT here).

Memorial Day is about honoring our military, too, and has its roots in the Civil War. It was originally called Decoration Day by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, who decreed that a day in May 1868 should be spent by honoring those who gave the last full measure, their lives, in defense of our country. It’s about honoring our fallen troops, lest we forget.

Interestingly, it wasn’t until after World War I that every state in the Union began observing Memorial Day, as southern states refused and had their own day to honor their fallen troops before then. The day has also come to pay respect to fallen heroes from every war the U.S. has engaged in.

Many of us have seen the annual Poppy Day fundraising activities of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). They began selling poppies nationally in 1922. But the origins of the poppy as a symbol of the blood of fallen heroes was conceived by Moina Michael, who, in response to the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” wrote her own verse, a portion of which reads as follows:

“We cherish too, the Poppy red

that grows on fields where valor led.

It seems to signal to the skies

that blood of heroes never dies.”

Memorial Day is more than just a day to signal the beginning of summer.

There is a National Moment of Remembrance resolution that was passed in 2000, and it asks that, at 3 p.m. local time, all U.S. citizens “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps.”

Happy Memorial Day to all.

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