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Why Wear a Poppy?

"Please wear a poppy", the lady said,

And held one forth, but I shook my head.

Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,

And her face was old and lined with care;

But beneath the scars the years had made

There remained a smile that refused to fade.

A boy came whistling down the street,

Bouncing along on carefree feet.

His smile was full of joy and fun,

"Lady," said he. "May I have one?"

When she pinned it on, he turned to say:

"Why do we wear a poppy today?"

The lady smiled in her wistful way

And answered: "This is Remembrance Day,

"And the poppy there is a symbol for

The gallant men who died in the war."

"And because they did, you and I are free

That's why we wear a poppy, you see.

I had a boy about your size,

With golden hair and big blue eyes.

He loved to play and jump and shout

Free as a bird, he would race about.

As the years went by, he learned and grew

And became a man - as you will, too.

He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,

But he'd seemed with us such a little while

When war broke out and he went away.

I still remember his face that day.”

"When he smiled at me and said good-bye.

'I'll be back soon, Mom, so please don't cry.'

But the war went on and he had to stay

And all I could do was wait and pray.”

“His letters told us of the awful fight

(I can see it in my dreams at night),

With the tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,

And the mines and the bullets, the bombs and the fire.”

“That sure did sound like an awful fight,

But your son - did he come back alright?”

A tear rolled down each faded cheek;

She shook her head but didn't speak.

I slunk away in a sort of shame,

And if you were with me, you'd have done the same;

For our thanks, in giving is aft delayed,

Though our freedom was bought - thousands paid!

And so, when we see a poppy worn,

Let us reflect on the burden borne

By those who gave very all

When asked to answer their country's call

That we at home in peace might live.

Then wear a poppy and give!

By Don Crawford


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