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Opinion: Let's remember all who fight for us

Paul W. Smith

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’”

“Let us remember, these freedoms were bought and paid for by the lives of others few of us actually knew.” — VFW’s Frederick G. Langston

A particularly important fact to recall on this Memorial Day 2020.

Originally called “Decoration Day,” from the tradition of decorating the graves of the war dead with flowers, many of the other traditions of this day of remembrance have fallen by the wayside.

I think you would be hard-pressed to see a poppy in someone’s lapel today in somber remembrance of the importance of the day.

Actually, we’d be hard-pressed to find a lapel in these dressed-down COVID-19 days. 

Harder-pressed to find anyone able to remember, let alone repeat the 1915 poem for the day, “In Flanders Fields.”

“We cherish too, the poppy red, that grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies.”

Out of those words came the mostly forgotten tradition of wearing red poppies today, in honor of those who died serving our nation during war.

Blue ribbons on the trees at the entrance to Beaumont hospital, off 13 mile, in Royal Oak, Michigan on March 31, 2020.

Last I checked, which frankly has been awhile, the tradition of poppies surrounding the Tower of London continues.

Recently, when talking about our true heroes in the fight against this relentless virus, the front line of first responders: the doctors, nurses, all other hospital support staff, the police officers, deputies, EMTs and many others, I have mentioned how we very well may be seeing the next wave of the hallowed “Greatest Generation,” maybe “Greatest Generation II.”

Today, the poppy on the lapel may be replaced by the blue ribbon on the tree and in the bushes, and in the hair.

And that’s OK.

The torch is passed.

Paul W. Smith is host of “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.