Today we remembered our soldiers.
The men and women who died protecting our freedom.
Those who still give of themselves to preserve peace.
For us, this is an annual tradition.
For as long as I can remember, I have taken one day out of the year to specifically remember.
I was raised to believe that this was right and necessary.
To not take for granted the peace and freedom I've been blessed to enjoy my whole life long.
This year was different for me though.
I suppose it basically boils down to my naivete.
Or maybe it was my habit of generally believing the best of people.
Perhaps a bit of both.
Regardless, it took me by surprise and caused me to assess more fully why I wear this bright red flower on my coat each November.
You see, this year, I learned that some people out right refuse to wear a poppy.
To observe a day of remembrance.
To honor those who did and still do sacrifice so much to preserve our freedom.
"Why would we want to wear this reminder of war when we are constantly surrounded by it?"
I had read this last week.
And it had struck me as so very wrong.
We are not surrounded by war.
We have no idea what that is like.
Not even close.
We are not glorifying it by wearing a poppy and taking a day to remember.
We are showing how grateful we are for those who made it possible that we would never have to experience it, live through it, die in it.
Today I watched my children as each 'BOOM!' of the 21 gun salute echoed across our city.
They covered their ears with their hands.
My oldest, extra sensitize to sound, huddled down close to the ground holding her head.
In between the blasts she would ask, "Is it done yet, Mom?! How many more?"
Over and over again.
"It hurts my ears!", she exclaimed in agony.
I knelt down to talk to her.
To calm her fears.
"Honey, it's only a sound. You don't have to be afraid. It will be over very soon."
I held her close as the last few shots came and went.
And I wasn't afraid or scared or even anxious.
I too desire peace.
I too do not love war.
Therefore, I wear a poppy.
I wear a poppy to remember that freedom wasn't free.
I wear a poppy to show my gratefulness for the peace that was provided so that I do not live in fear for my life or my children's.
I wear a poppy because I can tell them that sound is only a noise.
I wear a poppy because I can tell them that they do not need to be afraid.
I wear a poppy because I can be confident in my statement that it will be over soon.
I wear a poppy because the cost was so very high yet men and women stood up and paid that price.
I wear a poppy because my family and I daily enjoy the benefits of that.
I wear a poppy because I refuse to be a thankless generation nor to raise such.
I wear a poppy because we enjoy peace and we are not surrounded by war.
We need to remember that.
To find the instructions for our Flander's Field craft, go here.
To see my post on Remembrance Day 2011 (and other resources we use during this time of remembering), go here.