The poppies

A couple of days ago, when the photographer was here from the States he asked me what was up with all the red flowers people are wearing. I explained this, and this….

I thought that was enough, given that I didn’t know him very well and that if you are a passionate and deliberate pacifist, conversations about war, soldiers, peacekeeping and remembrance can head in extraordinarily surprising directions these days.

If you this is your first Remembrance day here at Chez Harlot, and if it suits your spirit, please consider doing three things.

Please go read about my grandfather.

Please, if you are Canadian, pause at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, remember what has come before, and consider the cost.

Please, even if your personal beliefs will not allow you to act as a pacifist, please spend a little time contemplating Peace, your role and how your behaviour can influence world events. There is a concept in parenting that explains that you should catch your children doing something right, since with kids, you always get more of what you pay attention to. This doesn’t mean that as a parent you ignore poor behavior, but that on balance, there should be a greater reward of attention for goodness than for taking your-sisters-blue-shirt-after-she-told-you-not-to-even-though-she-was-going-to-wear-it-to-school-because-there-is-no-other-shirt-like-it-at-all-and-now-your-insensitivity-has-completely-ruined-her-life-and-all-hopes-that-she-will-ever-have-friends-and-be-cool-enough-to-survive-high-school. (For example.) I’m hoping that this is a truth of the world (since it really, really works with kids) and today I’ll devote my day to peaceful action, trying to swing the balance.

(Yes, I have considered telling Teresa that delivering a baby is the ultimate in peaceful action and goodness..but I decided against it. Her beating me half to death for mentioning it wouldn’t be.)

98 thoughts on “The poppies

  1. Those who fail to remember from whence they came. will continue to be reminded of it.
    Quiet contemplation, helps to bring perspective to the matters at hand.
    *I will save my elation for being so close to being the first comment*

  2. Violent means have always been around – and I haven’t ever considered them successful.
    Our society has turned Veterans Day in the states into a reason to be off school/work and or to have a great sale at the local store. Talk about failing to remember!
    Thanks for the wonderful info about the poppy history and about your grandfather. It is unfortunate that there are so many with similar experiences.

  3. Thank you for the reminder. I’m off to call my grandmother, a Marine during WWII, and kiss my son, who is Playing Quietly.

  4. my grandfather was a navigator/bombadier flying bombing runs over germany in WWII. he is one of those men that, to this day, is devoted to his country (he worked for the IRS for the rest of his career after he returned home from the war) and for what he fought for.. yet he always talks about how he wishes that there would never be another one. he watched his son (my uncle) go off to fight in vietnam and grandma and grandpa prayed that he would return. thankfully he did but, like your grandfather, my uncle was one of the lucky one. i have seen war through their eyes and know that it is never the answer. i will pause with you today in rememberance (it is also veteran’s day here in the US). thank you for sharing that with us stephanie.

  5. Good day to think about such things. We (the whole world) could all use some more peace about now.
    Sorry to hear the baby is still being stubborn!

  6. I am surprised that the photog did not make the poppy connection… in the US poppies are distributed for Memorial Day.

  7. Honor all who served (and are serving), but remember what they were (are) ultimately trying to achieve: peace. It is a beautiful thing, and hopefully one day will be a way of life-for everyone everywhere.
    Happy Veteran’s Day

  8. On Tuesday I met a vetern selling poppies. I bought 2 and will wear them today.
    In WWI my greatgrandmother lost her 17 year old son in France. She was never the same.

  9. The best advice I have ever gotten for Veteran’s/Rememberance Day is from my brother, a Captain in the US Army. Hug a vet – it not only meets the qualifications for Stephanie’s peaceful actions that might swing the balance, but also reminds our men and women who have served that they are not forgotten. And for those that currently have someone serving in the military overseas, please send out a prayer that they all come home safe and sound. (I’m hoping that since this group did so well with Teresa’s baby, let’s up the ante to world peace!)

  10. Beautiful post. I wish the world could stop, look around, and consider the full effects of war on everyone. We would all have a better planet for it.

  11. I can’t think of anything to say that isn’t trite, except that I promise to remember and to work for a peaceful world in my wee corner of it…

  12. We have poppies here in the US too.
    We do need to remember what has gone before us and try to learn as well as thank those who have fought for freedom.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Has anybody done a study on how long those darn poppies will actually stay on? 5 minutes? Maybe 15 minutes on a good day? And where do all those poppies go when they escape your coat? Do they just sweep them up, dry them off, and sell them again? So how come they can’t invent a poppy that will remain pinned to your coat until the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month? Oh wait. I know — they get more donations when you have to buy 4 or 5 of them!

  14. That’s all right, I don’t think any child growing up would want to have their birthday on the sobering day of Remembrance Day.
    I, too, am a pacifist, although I recognize that WWII was a war that had to be fought. I also believe that it is one of the only ones that was so. Of course, WWII may not have happened if WWI hadn’t (or if we had been more lenient in the Treaty of Versailles)…
    War begets war. True peace begets peace.

  15. There is also the white poppy, it has been around since 1933. Check out this site to read about an alternative symbol, one that came into being as a pledge that war would never happen again.
    I have been involved in a local white poppy campaign since 2001. I wear a white poppy year round not just in November This is my pledge to work for peace, to remember all the war dead, civilians and combattants and with the hope that one day we will all realize that peace is more than just a “victory” in war and that non violent methods of conflict resolution are the only ones that work.

  16. I believe a child born on Remembrance/Veteran’s Day is the ultimate expression of Peace. Teresa (and all the rest of us) get to live, love and have babies in relative freedom, thanks to the sacrifice of all those people who died fighting for the cause they believed in.

  17. Grandfather too fought in the war, and helped liberate a Dutch town. He died when I was relatively young so I never got to ask him about it. My mom says he wouldn’t talk about it.I wear a poppy every year to remember him and what he went through as well as others. I dont’ like war myself and I’m an eternal optimist that wearing a poppy will eventually mean that war will disappear for good.

  18. suddenly I’ve made the connection- both of my grandfather’s are war veterans and I remember being a small child and going to the vetern’s monument in our small town with my mother and her putting a poppy on my shirt. i will be pausing to reflect today and pray for all the men and women overseas especially my cousin Eric, in Iraq. Thank you for your beautiful words Stephanie.

  19. Until recently, the silence in the UK was only held on Rememberence Sunday, which is the closest Sunday to the 11th, recently (in the last 5 years or so, certainly it began before 9/11 and 7/7) there has been an increase in people stopping on the 11th too. I think this is a good thing, we all should stop and think a little more.
    Oh and in response to Louisa, the poppies in the UK are made by disabled ex-service personel, or disabled memebers of service families. I don’t care how many I buy, as it helps doubly.

  20. Thank you so much for your post. Not all Americans see this as a day out of school or a sale at the mall, but I do wish we could all be more reverent today and every day. It is the very least we can do for the thousands who gave (and continue to give) their lives for us. Bless them.

  21. I do so miss the poppies. It seems that all they think about here on veteran’s day is xmas sales and turning over the family car for the new model year. Holda help me!

  22. How can anyone not know what a poppy is for? It was even in the Beatles song penny lane.. the nurse was selling poppies from a tray…

  23. My grandfather fought in WW1 and my father and uncles fought in WWII (most of my uncles did not return) so I always pause on the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember.
    For Louisa – In Canada, the poppies are assembled by Canadian Legion members (and their families) and the money is used by them throughout the year.

  24. I make a point to buy a poppy from each veteran I see this time of year. If I’m already wearing one, I tuck it in my pocket. I’ve seen such wonderful smiles of pride and gratitude as this small but important symbol is pinned on my coat by hands who have helped give me a safe place to live and raise my son. Those are worth so much more than any amount I could donate, and I do so happily to ensure that those who have served, and those who still do, know that they will be remembered and appreciated.
    I remember, and I am grateful.

  25. Stephanie, I applaud you on your pacifist stand. I am endeavouring to do the same. Now — could you please help me convince my young son (age 21) that enlisting in the Navy is NOT the way to help people?
    And for Theresa — plan a very exciting, not-to-be-missed day doing something that you absolutely love doing (shopping, reading, knitting, visiting, you name it). Guaranteed, the little one will demand to be born on that very day.
    And for Louisa — try taking the eraser out of a pencil and sticking it on the end of your poppy. Then it will stay put. Losing a pencil is a small price to pay in memory of the veterans who purchased our freedom with their lives.

  26. Children immitate what they see around them. I commend the parents and those who honor this day. Yesterday, I was trying to teach a group of Long Island students about the importance of Veteran’s Day and suggested to them that a moment of silence to remember those who gave their all would be appropriate today. To remember those who are serving in Iraq and in our armed forces. After all, there was a very good reason they would be off from school. I was greeted with “I’ll be sleeping” among other comments. It was only when I tied the event to 9/11 and the fact that we commemorate that event with a moment of silence when the planes hit the towers that I finally got their attention. Isn’t it a shame that the youth who are receiving a public education funded with tax payer dollars do not feel they owe anything to anyone? They were 11th graders, students old enough to understand, but not mature enough to recognize this days importance. Take a moment to reflect today in the hopes that your example can cause a tide of change.

  27. You don’t suppose the baby is “soldiering on” in the womb…honoring the PEACEfulness in the household…since you know that after the arrival of said baby that during the period of adjustment that the household…and quite possibly the parents themselves will look like they have been in a war…
    I’m going to go find SOMETHING to do with, to, for the vet I am married to :>)…who still vividly remembers soldiers being spat on when he returned from Nam.

  28. My father volunteered for WWII when he was 17 and was part of the liberating forces in Holland. He too steadfastly refuses to discuss the war and is a pacifist with a life long sense of gratitude, love and respect for the Dutch who welcomed them into their homes as if they were family. He drove a tank and one of the few things I know is a battle where the tanks on either side were blown up but his escaped un harmed. One of his obervations was how hard it was to kill young boys, he could never see the Germans as enemies, just young boys like him dying in a senseless war. He never participated in reunions or anything that he felt glorifed war.

  29. Thank you for reminding me that even though I feel totally useless to do anything about the wars that are going on around the world and the current rather destructive and xenophobic attitude of the people in charge of (and electing those in charge of) a certain neighbouring country, the fact that I am raising a child with love and to have respect for others is my protest against the darkness, and that it *matters*.
    And can I just say that it is a tremendous relief to hear my own parenting philosophy of ‘catching kids be good’ coming out of the mouth of someone who is further along the parenting line than I am and whose kids are turning out really well. What a reassuring thing to hear.
    Peace out.

  30. My remembrance is wearing 101st Airborne shirt for my nephew (blackhawk pilot) serving tour #2 in Iraq. My father served Navy then Army and died en route to Vietnam. I don’t need a day to remind me, but sure am glad we have one.

  31. I stood today near the Cenotaph in Ottawa during he National Rememberance Day ceremonies and remebered the sacrifices made. I remembered my grandfather, a tailgunner in a Lanc who still doesn’t talk about Dresden. I remembered his brother, who fell in the Liberation of The Netherlands. And I remembered those who have lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, husbands, wives and friends to war, and in the fight for piece.
    The poppy is pinned upon my jacket and will stay there all year, since everyday I remember.

  32. That’s a beautiful post, Stephanie. Although we keep the 2 minutes’ silence in the UK, fewer and fewer people wear poppies, and it’s rare to see people selling poppies on the streets any more.
    I remember very clearly watching the Remembrance day programs on TV when I was small. There was a whole evening of displays by the different armed forces, televised from the Albert Hall in London, and at the end of the evening there was silence as the air turned red with falling poppies. They seemed to fall forever – one for every serviceman and woman who died in the two world wars. I don’t know if they still do it; I doubt any child who saw it would forget it once the significance was explained.

  33. On this day I always take time to remember my grandfather. He was at Vimy Ridge in WWI. I remember my Uncle who enlisted in WWII. He made it through basic training and was in Newfoundland awaiting transport to Europe when the war in Europe ended. I remember my parents best friend who served in Korea. I remember our close family friend who was in the military police in WWII. I also try to remember the people I have met in my life who were Hong Kong vets, served in Vietnam or lived in Europe during the war. Today is my day of mourning for the loss of these people from my life. My brother chose November 11 to get married. I have not forgiven him for it.

  34. Thank-you for this post…I remember my Grampa who served in The War…he was drafted at age 38 in 1943…I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him. My Father served as a young man in Korea and my classmates served in Vietnam. It breaks my heart when I think of what it must have done to them. War is a horrible thing & there must be a better way. Thanks for reminding us to remember this Veteran’s Day.

  35. I’ve known the significance of the poppy since I was six years old and asked my great grandmother why she was buying a paper flower?
    Maybe because it’s the fact I live in the Midwest, but every year those poppies show up at Memorial Day (as Allyson said)… I cannot believe this is just a Midwest thing.

  36. I too remember the poppies. I have lived in California all my life and it has been years since I have seen them.
    Too many wars, too many people dead. Will we never learn that war does no good. If it did we would not still be fighthing wars.
    Best Wishes

  37. Do you have Subways in Canada? Have Teresa eat a Spicy Italian. (This will not work if she is a vegetarian). Then take her for a boat-ride on a wind-whipped choppy body of water. Or drive really fast over a pot-hole ridden street.
    I don’t know if it’s the spices, the preservatives, the bumping or some freaky synchronicity of them all–but it worked on my friend who was 2 weeks overdue. I was her coach and I had to leave the state for a wedding in two days. Her name was Teresa too.

  38. I remember vets selling poppies at an intersection in my hometown (Southern US) when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure they did it on Veterans Day (Nov. 11), not Memorial Day (last Monday in May), but I’m not positive. Maybe both. Somewhere along the line, though, that stopped, and I haven’t seen poppies in a long time.

  39. My Dad was part of the Army units that liberated Dachau. He will never talk about it, either. My husband retired out of the Army. I also served 10 years in the Reserves. We would have done whatever we needed to do, just as our fathers did, but thank God we didn’t need to go to war. We all need peace, from our families to the whole world. Thanks, Stephanie

  40. I am an american, but I spent most of elementary school living in Oakville, Ontario, and wore my poppies on Rememberance day. It’s funny to me to look at all of the things you absorb as a kid without realizing their import, until something when you’re older makes you look back on them with new eyes. When I was a senior in high school, one of those moments came when doing a group project on the first Gulf War. The propaganda behind all of my american classmates patriotic and happy memories was so evident when contrasted with my more somber canadian-fed ones. I admire you and your country for having the courage to find other ways to handle trouble than escalating conflict and violence.
    Thanks for writing.

  41. We had quite a discussion at our house this morning about whether Remembrance Day should be a holiday in Ontario, like it is in some of the western provinces. I think that I’m glad it’s not, because (at least when I was in school), it was a fairly sombre day and we spent a lot of time talking about the wars, the vets, and peace. I think that teaching kids about those things helps to ensure that they grow up and continue to remember.
    Of course, if we’re going to put the burden of that teaching on schools, we need to make sure that they keep teaching….and a lot of what is done in schools on Remembrance Day is funded by the Legion….which makes its funds by selling poppies. That’s one of many reasons why it doesn’t hurt anyone to buy 5 or 6 or 20 each year. I buy one from every vet that I see.
    I was just saying to my partner last week that I really appreciate the fact that you always post about Remembrance Day. Thanks for doing it again ths year.

  42. This comment is more for Teresa. Has she tried power washing her patio or side of the house? I know three women that went into labor within hours of power washing at their homes. It’s all the vibration.

  43. When I was a child we all wore paper poppies on 11/11, as did all the teachers. The American Legion sold them, in rememberance. (There was no set price, you dropped a contribution in the can.) In the later 50’s, they became plastic poppies. Not as nice, but at least they didn’t bleed red on your coat if it snowed or rained! Now no one remembers these customs, it’s old-fashioned. I was pleased, however, to see HRH Prince Charles wearing a poppy in his lapel as he and Camilla made their visit to the US.

  44. As an ex-pat Brit in the US I REALLY miss the poppies. I called a post office today and they said “of course, we’re not open today”. I said, “Why?” and was completely surprised when he said “Veteran’s Day”. I don’t watch much TV and had lost track of the date and there was nothing (NOTHING) else to bring it to mind.
    I have great admiration and sympathy for those who serve. And horror that the politicians can’t find a better way.
    Later today I heard a powerful program on NPR during which veterans of the Pacific theatre talked about their experiences ( If you’re not a pacifist now, tune in to my local NPR station at 11 pm (EST) tonight ( and listen to the rebroadcast. It will at least reinforce what Stephanie’s grandfather taught, the one time he talked about the war.

  45. Thank you for your lovely post.
    I live in Guernsey,in the Channel Islands.The only part of the British Isles to be occupied in the second world war. My Grandfather, a serving police officer, was killed in the air raid that heralded the invasion. We still observe the two minutes silence rigourously ( People stop in the streets and pull over in their cars). It is observed in all the schools, government buildings and all the main businesses and we will never forget those who died for our freedom.

  46. Thank you for the lovely links; I had never heard about the red poppies before. Now I’m thinking- “Where can I get some red poppies?!” I also loved the parenting point- well said. As always, a pleasure reading your entries.

  47. Thank you, stephanie, for these two thoughtful, deeply moving posts. My father is a Polish-born (Jewish) veteran of World War II, and when I was growing up, I don’t think a day passed in which he DIDN’T somehow make reference to the war. To this day, WWII and the Holocaust come up regularly in our conversations. I think it’s his way of upping the odds that his children (and our children,in turn) would be peace-loving people who treasure each day and value life. I think he has succeeded. thank you again for the reminder.

  48. I was a poppy girl in 1967 when my Dad was commander of the local VFW post. He fought in Korea, and died just this year. It is a special memory for me–I rode on a float while he marched alongside in the parade with the other veterans. I remember how proud I felt to know them all. And I held the record for most poppies sold by that post. I also was asked to make a speech the following year at school for our Armistice Day assembly (I was in 4th grade), and ended up putting myself in tears along with half the audience when I looked at the young boys in our school and spoke about how, if we didn’t do better, someday they might have to go to war. Sigh.

  49. He should have known. I’m 27, in the Army ten years, an American, and I know what the poppies are for. Pacifist, supporter, or what have you, we should all know where we’ve been.

  50. Thanks for this. I know that here in the states, it seems to be more about a great white sale than remembrance, but here in my corner of LA, there is remembering going on. Your grandfather sounds a lot like my father, my uncle and my own grandfather, both of whom fought in wars far away and both of whom carry scars and experiences they really can’t talk about. Not in a way that does those experiences any justice, anyway. I look at them and I worry about my cousin who is fighting in Iraq now, after a tour in Afghanistan. I think about my other young cousin, dead before his 25th birthday – a National Guard medic who was on the wrong side of a roadside bomb outside Bagdad. Two boys who I watched grow up. One of them will (I hope) come home and he will carry the memories of what went on there. One will never come home. I don’t know which is worse.
    Here, we remember. Here, in my house, we pray for peace.

  51. My kids and I celebrated Veterans Day by tying it to St. Martin’s Day, which is also today…St. Martin was a Roman soldier who, upon seeing a cold beggar, tore his cloak in half to give to the poor man. He was quite a symbol of a soldier who turned from fighting to work for peace. We take clothes to the Goodwill, and at lunch we each take half of our sandwich and gave it to the person sitting to our right…little rituals to teach us how to start healing the world, turning away from fighting and turning to caring for each other.

  52. given the quantity of comments above I’m sure this has already been mentioned (and I do also wonder if it will ever be read), but for the record, we do the same thing here in Australia.
    We have a radio on in our office usually, so yesterday just after 11am there was a slight quietening of the usual hubub as “the last post” came over the airwaves.

  53. Thank you for that parenting tip about recognizing the good things children do. I was raised by a loving, but critical, mother. She seemed to dwell on the negative, and sadly, I see that transferring from me to Joe’s children.
    It’s very sad to me that there’s so little regard for Vetern’s Day from school kids beyond having another day off. Especially since we’re fighting a war that may last long enough to see a fair number of them drafted…

  54. Thank you Stephanie. My sister was married on 11/11 16 years ago. She wanted always to have her wedding anniversary day off. Tacky-most. For the most part, we US-ers, from our leadership on down, have forgotten for what this day was set aside. To those for whom this day is deeply meaningful (and I am one of you despite my citizenship), I’m very sorry about that.

  55. I didn’t realize Canada has Remembrance Day. Thanks for the education and reminder of what we in states south of Canada (the US) call Veterans’ Day. It is sadly too much a day for consumerism, sales and time off for most, but I am truly grateful for those in uniform who pay the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy – defending our very lives against those who would prefer that we not live in peace. I’m not a pacifist per se, but I pray for peace. I believe we absolutely need to defend ourselves and the innocent ones who would otherwise be trodden upon and worse. It’s good that countries take the time to honor the dead in service and those living still serving. I wish we in the US would do what Israel does. They sound a horn throughout the entire country on their Holocaust Remembrance Day and the entire country stops. Traffic stops. Pedestrians stop. Everything stops, but the clock – for five minutes. I was in awe the first time I saw this and realized that an entire country was silent, reverent, prayerful, and remembering – truly honoring – those who died. After five minutes, the horn blew again and life resumed.

  56. Stephanie- Please add your short essay about your grandfather to book 3 if there is any way you can. It says so much . . . I suppose you might need to throw in a little bit of wool into the narrative to knit it into the fabric of the book.
    Your tale is quietly Powerful. And it carries the heart of what knitters are about: loving humanity and this beautiful world we live in, where tiny, practially nonexistent free-floating fibers can join together, twist, and take on enough strength to become yarn and sweaters and ropes and parachutes . . . and be used to embrace loved ones no matter what the nationality or politics or other such nonsense.

  57. Thank you. Not only Stephanie but also so many others who teach me about poppies and St. Martin. I gather the memories and tell the stories to my children so they too may learn.

  58. It was a slow week on L&D until yesterday – there’s something in the air over here and there’ve been 7 babes born in the past 36 hours (I was present for 4 of them) and that’s after nothing on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I’ll do all I can to I send that air up to you. Good luck to her. (now I’ll go back and read the rest of what you wrote….)

  59. Thanks for sharing about your grandpa. He sounds like a wonderful man.
    As for Teresa let her know that the cause can also be the cure. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to hear that. 🙂

  60. NZ and Oz have Remembrance Day too. I stop for a minute at 11am and think about my Pop, who was an ANZAC and also fought at the Somme. I buy a synthetic poppy from an old veteran (WWII? Korea? Vietnam?) at the station and put it on my bag and leave it there until it disintegrates. Flanders poppies are blooming in my front yard – I’ve a picture on my blog.

  61. God bless the men and women who, like Stephanie’s grandfather, fight against evildoers in the cause of freedom and liberty for themselves and their loved ones. May they ever have the support of their families and countrymen/women/people. May the parents of young men and women who have chosen a military career find the grace and strength to love and support them despite a parent’s natural reservations. And, in the incomparable words of Abraham Lincoln, may we �never forget what they did [and] highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that [we] shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.�

  62. In the States the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) distributes the buddy poppies and has since 1922 ( My Nana (great grandma) always had one on her wallet. Recently at a local fair the VFW was there with poppies. I had not seen one in many years and it brought me to tears and gratitude for both my long gone Nana and the Vet’s that have served for our freedom. I was born in a communist country, and I am eternally grateful for the freedom the US has given me — and i know what price was paid for that freedom. Even if you do not support a war, support the soldier. And thank them when you see them — they never get enough thanks in person.
    When my husband woke up yesterday on Veteran’s day I thanked him first for having served our country. Then I told him to get to work *wink*
    love you harlot and thanks for the memories!!

  63. Thank you for sharing your profound experience. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your grandfather. Thank you for reminding me about the horror that is war. Thank you for inspiring me to share my story on my new blog.

  64. That’s the second time I’ve read about your grandfather, and it brings tears to my eyes…I have always been a pacifist, even when my sister was sent to the Gulf to fight. She was in the U.S. Army, and felt she did the right thing, but I was adamantly against it, and the only support I could lend was the hope that she would not come home in a box. Your grandfather was right: war is not the way to solve a problem, and for him to tell a roomful of schoolchildren what really happens when you go to fight…brave, beautiful man.
    And thank you for the “catching a child doing something right” reminder. We try to do that with my daughter, but we need to do it more. She’s having trouble focusing in school, needs extra help, and your post sparked a new discussion about how to further help her with the anxiety her sensory difficulties cause her.
    I remember how my father focused on my “minus” in an “A-minus” grade, when all the other grades were straight As. It didn’t help me, and it won’t help my kid, thinking like that. Thanks for pointing it out, because I needed to hear it again.

  65. Thank you for the links on the history of the poppy. I am an avid genealogist and scrapper as well as knitter/spinner. My great Grandfather, born in Sweden, raised in US, was in WWI in France and Belgium. I have a pressed poppy from France that he sent home in a letter to his sister. It’s purple though, not red. He was actively involved in the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and I have a newspaper clipping that his son, my Grandfather, had sold/given away the most poppies in his town. I think my Grandpa was 6. I had the Flander’s Fields poem but wanted some other information to tie it all together. Thank you.

  66. thank you for reminding us about Veteran’s Day/Armistice day. My father was in WWII, as a teenager. There was a time when the US services accepted boys when they were still seniors in high school. My dad enlisted while a senior to avoid the draft, so he could pick the branch of services to join. He left high school and became, completely by chance, a “SeaBee”, a member of the construction batallion of the Navy. He received a high school diploma in abstentia. Luckily for him, we was shipped to the Aleutian Islands where he worked on maintaining a naval base and did not see battle. I shudder to think that if he had been drafted immediately after graduating from high school, he would have been “cannon fodder” as an uneducated, skill-less body in some invasion–as were so many other young men.
    He is a vehement opponent to the war in Iraq and to all wars.

  67. I’m not sure what part of the US your photog was from, but the VFW around here sells poppies on Veteran’s Day. Mike and I spent the day at a Veteran’s Day Remembrance dinner with the rest of the band, playing the bagpipes for 4 hours and, in between times, talking with a lot of the Vets and remembering those no longer with us.

  68. It has been many, many years since I saw anyone from whom to buy a poppy. My grandfather did not serve in either WWI or WWII, but he always got a poppy. I hope that I will remember to find one next year.

  69. Strange I remember seeing Poppies for Veterans Day. My Mom mentioned about buying one yesterday. Of course, I grew up in Detroit (she’s still there) and it’s just a hop-skip, no jump necessary to Windsor, so maybe it trickled across the border.

  70. Thanks for the lovely tribute to our veterans. My dad was one, and serving in wartime took quite a toll on his health. I’m a pacifist, too.
    How’s Teresa doing? I’m cheering for her & hoping things take their course naturally soon. We all know pregnancy is not a permanent condition, but it sure seems that way in the last month.

  71. “Pay attention to good behavior”: that is why I read this blog. Thank you for Remembrance, for MSF, and all your enlightening positivity. You do great things with this blog, and I hope my attention to it helps extend the positivity into the world at large.

  72. Just checked in and was moved by all the comments about Remembrance Day and the significants of the Poppy. I always feel how fitting that my father died on Nov. 11th when he wanted to go to war but being the youngest of the family had to stay back and look after the farm. He was a dedicated historian and true Canadian. Since I last wrote we bacame grandparents of a 9 lb baby girl named Leah Marit . She is adorable!!! Tell Teresa to drink raspberry tea . It is supposed to induce labor. The miracle of her birth was quite moving . It will happen. I am searching for a patter for a dress for my little sweetie. Anyone have one? Thanks.

  73. my uncles were both in ww2 (my dad was hard of hearing and had flat feet, they wouldn’t let him join), and my little brother was in Desert Storm, so i try to remember.
    on a different note, KNITTER DOWN! I know you made the flowerbasket shawl, and did a lovely job. i’m trying ot make it right now, and i’m stuck after row 24. at row 24, it says you have 55 stitches. i have 56. do you know which is right (do you recall that far back after frying your brain with bookbookbook 3 & and photographers, and the mad knitter’s tour?)? i’m desperate. i tried the website for IK, and there was no errata posted, and i sent them a message, but i have no clue how long this will take. i’m even posting comments on all the blogs that i know of who’ve made the flower basket shawl. sigh. help?!?!? (whimper)

  74. Thanks so much for sharing this.
    While my country seems to glory in war and so few around me see the harm in this, it is refreshing to be reminded that the whole world isn’t bent on destruction.

  75. Thank you for your beautiful tribute to those who served in wartime, as well as your call to elevate peace to an international priority. Every Veteran’s Day, I take time to think of the veterans who have honored me with their stories, and remember how, to a man (and woman), they all had one parting word for me: teach peace. And so, I shall try, and never forget.

  76. “…beating me half to death”??!! You write of “peace” and then use that phrase? How about thinking of something else to convey that thought? “pull any ugly face” even “flipping a finger at me” — wouldn’t those have been better?

  77. So you see…
    …I was at this conference last week. Four days away from home and kids (this is a personal record).
    I did not check my news sites. I did not check any other blog. I did, however, check back at EVERY opportunity to see how Teresa is doing.
    You be addictive, Stephanie! (And my prayers are with y’all and the baby, may it come safely, swiftly, and soon and be wrapped lovingly in your work of art.)

  78. This matronly knitter is a 30-year USAF veteran. When I was thinking of signing up (for mercenary reasons-a scholarship), it was the ’70s, and anything in a uniform (cops, Boy Scouts, milkmen) was Bad. A wise person asked if I thought that by staying out, I would end armies or wars. No, of course not. Well, if people of conscience did not join militaries, then who would? And so it is. Until the other guys quit shooting at us, we will have to have soldiers. Please get to know a current service member. They are some of the nicest, most moral people you will ever meet. And vote for reinstatement of the draft, without exemptions. Until the leaders, and the vast majority of now-passive citizens, have their own kids at risk, nations will continue to pick fights.

  79. Beautiful post, Stephanie–your grandpa would be proud of you. I served in the US Air Force for over 20 years, and every November 11 I pin on the Canadian poppy I got in Vancouver five years ago. I agree with a previous post–go hug a veteran on that day!

  80. Could someone run get seren a double humorchino with whipped cream (oops, pulled a face cream) and sprinkles, please? Aunt Eula’s Home for the Terminally Literal-Minded just called.

  81. Rasa’s idea is good in theory, but in principle rarely works. Those in power find a way to get their kids out of serving active duty.

  82. I don’t know about Geogrrl’s comment about those in power finding a way to get their kids out of serving active duty. That may be true in some cases, but not all. Israel has compulsory military service (three years for men, two for women – immediately after high school). Everyone serves active duty. Kids of leaders aren’t exempted.
    I like Rasa’s idea of the draft. I wouldn’t have liked it as a teenager, but the older I get, the more I realize that you can’t negotiate with evil. I doubt that the parenting theory of rewarding good behavior works with Hitler, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeni, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Ladan, the leader of Cambodia in the days of the “killing fields,” the leaders in Rwanda, etc.
    That kind of evil doesn’t respond to rewards or even talking. I thank our servicemen and women who are willing to fight the good fight. Because there is good. And there is evil. And we need to be protected – and protect our children – from it.

  83. Maybe it’s the collective power of all of your readers crossing our legs so you’d have time to finish the shawl that’s slowing Teresa down. You might not want to tell her that though, or she’ll be mighty unhappy with the blog!

  84. That’s in Israel, not the US.
    Canada, to my knowledge, has never had to use its draft legislation.

  85. Just a little gloat on my behalf: I have my own blog now!!!! I am not a gifted writter as you are Steph, however, I do hope that I will be at least a quarter as well read as your blog is.

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