Origins of the poppy flower symbolism 

To the Editor:

On Saturday, May 22, Gladwin County American Legion Auxiliary Unit 171 distributed poppies as a tribute to our fallen warriors, raising money for veterans, active-duty service members, and their families. Thank you to the people who gave donations and shared their stories with the volunteers.  

Although most people know that poppies are worn in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, Unit 171 members also met people on Saturday who did not know the story of how the poppy was chosen to hold such significance and decided to share this information with the public. 

After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died during the Second Battle of Ypres. The poem is as follows:

In Flanders Fields

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. 

– Lt. Col. John McCrae 

On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion. The poppy has grown to become an internationally known and recognized symbol of the lives sacrificed in war and the hope that none died in vain. We must not forget.

Unit 171 would like to thank and recognize the following Gladwin businesses who graciously allowed the volunteers to distribute poppies at their locations: Flynn Lumber, Beacon and Bridge Market, Family Fare Supermarket, Ace Hardware, and Family Farm and Home.  

For God and Country,

Diana M. Mella

President, Gladwin County American Legion Auxiliary Unit 171

 

The importance of respecting others

To the Editor:

I’m writing this letter to ask this community to pray for our leaders. Laws are made that are not enforced, so our children are being raised to not respect the law. 

I’ve spent the past three weekends listening to dirt bikes, four-wheelers and go-carts with little children driving them going round and round; which I thought would stop because of the reckless snowmobile driver who killed himself here in Grass Lake (a road closed to ORV riders). 

Last night, the firecrackers were so loud and so often that one of my dogs peed himself in fear! All of this makes me think that without strong leadership, we will lose the next generation to this neglect of duty! 

Parents and grandparents are not teaching their children to respect others or the laws. When these children are 20 years old, they will be the ones not putting up their hands, or dropping their guns, or even stopping for law enforcement. More laws are not the answer, but enforcing the laws we have may help. 

If you have any answers, please put them into action before it’s too late for these children. 

Sincerely, 

Helen Wright

Gladwin

 

Dear hearts and gentle people

To the Editor:

Recently, I went through a lengthy brain surgery. When I found our I had a brain tumor, it surprised me. I knew I was losing my hearing in my left ear, but thought it was just another indication of old age. When I found out through an MRI scan it was a brain tumor, it made me realize how fragile the body is and that I was not exempt from a serious health issue. It also made me think about the priorities in my life. Maybe most importantly, it made me aware of how much I am loved by my Lord Jesus, my family, my friends and neighbors. 

Years ago, there was a song made popular by singer, Bing Crosby. Here are some of the lyrics that make me think of my own community, “I love those dear hearts and gentle people who live in my home town, I love those dear hearts and gentle people who never ever let me down.” 

To all of you, especially my children who took time from your work obligations to drive me to U of M for surgery, for follow-up appointments, for meals and all the many errands that helped me get through the first few weeks of recovery. The otolaryngology department at U of M, Dr. Steven A Telian and Dr. Byron Gregory Thompson for their amazing abilities. The therapy doctors and their staff. Our church family and friends, and our many neighbors for your generosity, love and all the many cards and prayers. Linda and I thank you! 

We love those “dear hearts and gentle people who live in my home town.”

Lynn Morgan

Gladwin

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