Breakfast on the Connecticut

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In Flanders Fields ……

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend when we remember all the men and women who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. For most individuals, Memorial Day represents no more than a three day weekend with an extra day off from work. But for most Americans, it should be so much more. It was conceived shortly after our nation’s bloodiest conflict, the Civil War. As a nation, we lost over 600,000 lives in that terrible time and until just recently those numbers were greater than the total of all lives lost in all America’s other wars. What was lost and what should be remembered is that these lives were fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters and living relatives loved by many. What was lost and should be remembered were friends and lovers. What was lost and should be remembered was maybe another Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Dr. Jonas Salk, John Glenn, Muhammed Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa. When I was in grade school in Canada, I memorized a poem written by John McCrae who penned these words in 1915 after he presided over the burial of Canadian Lieutenant, Alexis Helmer:

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.

So when you are enjoying this weekend’s many recreational activities with family and friends, take some time to remember and reflect on those who helped to make this weekend possible. Put a flag or a flower on a vet’s grave and say thank you.

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