Close to Nowhere
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I — the Great War — ended.
World War I began in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and lasted until 1918. During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers).
World War I saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction. By the time the war was over and the Allied Powers claimed victory, more than 16 million people — soldiers and civilians alike — were dead.
The first global war also helped to spread one of the world’s deadliest global pandemics, the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people.
“The war to end all wars” in addition to the death and destruction also brought us little red paper poppies.
In the early 1920s, Veterans of Foreign Wars began making and selling “Buddy Poppies® .” Made entirely by disabled and needy veterans, all monies made from the poppies went back to the disabled veterans.
I’ve always bought a poppy for Veterans Day — my father-in-law was a devoted and passionate veteran and he helped instill a huge sense of pride and patriotism in me.
I read something (on Facebook of course) that really made an impression on me. And I quote —
“Today I saw a man who was selling poppies stop and ask a lady if he could re-position her poppy.
“You should wear your poppy on the right side; the red represents the spilled blood, the black represents the mourning of those at home and the green leaf represents grass and crops and future prosperity after so much was destroyed by war.
“The leaf should be positioned at 11 o’clock to represent the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when WW I officially ended.
“He told her he was worried that younger generations wouldn’t understand and that his generation is not going to be around to teach them. And we must remember those from current wars also.”
Since WW I, we’ve had — WW II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, and a long list of “smaller” wars.
The 11th day of the 11th month is Veterans Day. Buy a Buddy Poppy and wear it proudly (and correctly).