This week I was struck by how many people here in the UK were wearing these little red flowers on their lapels. I had no idea what they were for, until I finally asked a sweet lady in a pub. She said that they were poppies, worn in honor of Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, to remember the nearly 20 million fallen soldiers in World War I, and those who have given their lives since then in military service.
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.
I was struck this week by how many people observed this holiday with deep reverence. We call the same holiday Veterans' Day in the US, but we do not honor it in nearly the same way as they do here. Even today during church, we observed two minutes of silence in honor of fallen military personnel. There was a sense of patriotism and respect for service men and women who were willing to give their lives in the cause of freedom. It was very inspiring, and an eye-opener for me about how we regard our own military personnel in the US. People picket and set up demonstrations at fallen soldiers' FUNERALS in the US. I hope that we can learn some lessons from our allies here in Europe about how to respect and honor those who are contributing to our security and freedom.
On a lighter note, we got lost today. AGAIN. Big surprise, huh? A family was having some people over for lunch and invited us to join them. We were pretty excited. They told us to follow their car. We were the 3rd car in the caravan. We drove about 5 miles, and I assumed that the second car was going to the same place, until we got to a roundabout (curse them!) and the first car went one way and the second car went another! We didn't know what to do, so we went around the roundabout and tried to find the first car (because we were going to their house). We couldn't find them. We drove for another 10 minutes, and finally we pulled over into a parking lot with some young military-looking cadets. One of them let us use his phone to call the only number we had (the bishop). No answer. So after a 40 minute drive out into the middle of nowhere, we turned around and tried to find our way home. Fortunately, we only got slightly turned around, and got back to our apartment in time for peanut butter and jam sandwiches and a nap. :)