By: Carole Crawford
It was a cold windy afternoon in November. Mark was on the bus coming home from school. The school bus passed the grocery store and the bank as it did everyday. But today Mark saw something different. The older Children on the bus were talking and pointing. Mark listened to them but was puzzled.
When Mark got off the bus, he ran into his house. He quickly took off his coat, hat and boots. His Grandpa was visiting. so he hurried over to him, grabbed his hand and pulled him into the living room. "Grandpa, I saw a man dressed in a uniform giving away red flowers, "Mark began. "The man was wearing a red flower just like the one you have on your shirt. The older kids on the bus were talking about the man and the war. They called it Novembrance Day. What were they talking about ?
Well Mark, " his Grandpa began as he sat down in the big olive green chair. "First of all it's called Remembrance Day. I will be happy to tell you what it is all about."
Mark sat on the foot stool in front of his Grandpa and was ready to listen carefully. "The man that you saw in the uniform was once a brave soldier." Grandpa began. "Many soldiers have fought in different wars throughout history. You see, wars are not just stories of the past, they are going on right now in other countries. Wars are fought for many different reasons; to protect our freedom, sometimes to make changes, but most of all to keep peace throughout the world.
"I see Grandpa, but what are the red flowers for?" "Mark asked, pointing to the one his Grandpa was wearing.
"The red flowers that the soldier was giving away are called Poppies. In return for the Poppy, people give him money. The money is used to help soldiers and their families."
Why do they give Poppies and not some other flower?" interrupted Mark.
"They chose the Poppy because the worst fighting in history took place in a city called Flanders, in a country called Belgium. In the spring while the war was still going on. Poppies bloomed in the fields that were destroyed by the war. The soldiers were amazed that something so beautiful as the Poppy could grow in such an ugly wasteland." Grandpa then reached for the Poppy on his shirt and unpinned it. He held it carefully in his hand and stared at it for a second and then continued. "That is why the Poppy became a symbol of Remembrance of the war".
"Our soldiers have fought very hard for peace and they have left us with the job of keeping it" Grandpa said as he pointed to Mark and then himself. "We must learn to live peacefully everyday, not just with our neightbours but with the entire world. I have a little poem that I like to tell people about Remembrance Day. Would you like to hear it Mark?" asked Grandpa while he pinned his Poppy on the left side of Mark's shirt.
"Yes," answered Mark with a smile.
"We wear a Poppy in November
to show that we're proud
and that we remember."
Mark looked at his Grandpa then turned and ran to his room. Grandpa was puzzled. Mark returned with his hands full of pennies and said. "Grandpa can I go get you a Poppy now?"
Grandpa looked at him proudly. "You certainly can Mark. You certainly can!"