November 2, 2009
Why wear a poppy poem
 
"Please wear a poppy," the lady said, and held one forth, but I shook my head.  Then I stopped and
watched as she offered them there, and her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made, there remained a smile that refused to fade.  A boy came
whistling down the street, bouncing along on care-free feet.

His smile was full of joy and fun, "Lady," said he, "may I have one?"  When she'd pinned it on, he turned
to say; "Why do we wear a poppy today?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way and answered; "This is Remembrance Day.  And the poppy there is a
symbol for the gallant men who died in war.

And because they did, you and I are free - That's why we wear a poppy, you see.  I had a boy about your size, with golden hair and
big blue eyes.

He loved to play and jump and shout, free as a bird, he would race about.  As the years went by, he learned and grew, and became
a man - as you will, too.

He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile, but he'd seemed with us such a little while when war broke out and he went away.  I
still remember his face that day.

When he smiled at me and said, 'Goodbye, I'll be back soon, Mum, please don't cry.'  But the war went on and he had to stay, and
all I could do was wait and pray.

His letters told of the awful fight (I can see it still in my dreams at night), with the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire, and the
mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.

Till at last, at last, the war was won - and that's why we wear a poppy, son."  The small boy turned as if to go, then said, "Thanks,
lady, I'm glad to know.  That sure did sound like an awful fight but your son - did he come back all right?"  A tear rolled down each
faded cheek; she shook her head, but didn't speak; I slunk away in a sort of shame, and if you were me, you'd have done the same:

For our thanks, in giving, if oft delayed, though our freedom was bought - and thousands paid!  And so, when we see a poppy worn,
let us reflect on the burden borne by those who gave their very all when asked to answer their country's call that we at home in
peace might live.

Then wear a poppy!  Remember - and Give!

Don Crawford