A Lesson In Civility

I CAME AWAY WITH SIMPLE OBSERVATIONS

Every now and then, something happens that creates a long-term memory, sometimes for the good . . . and sometimes for not – Yesterday, November 11, 2015, was one of those days that made the memory very much worthwhile.

As I recently wrote . . . last year (2014) on the 11th of November, Anne and I attended the Remembrance/Veterans’ Day Memorial in Cleveland Georgia, and were surprised to see that no one wore a POPPY.

And as Anne and I stood amongst the crowd last year, we noticed sideway glances we were receiving from people in attendance, because of our POPPIES, while several people politely asked where we got them.

So this year (2015), before leaving Canada, Anne and I purchased by way of a generous Donation to the Canadian Legion in Alexandria Ontario, more than 200-POPPIES, for the exclusive purpose of bringing them to Cleveland Georgia.

We left early from our location to make certain that we got to the event Park, appropriately called FREEDOM PARK, where the Memorial was to be held, so we could have ample time to hand out the POPPIES we had.

AND THIS IS HOW IT WENT . . .

Most of the crowd of about 400-People were my age and older. And at least half the people in the crowd were veterans, many of whom served and fought in Korea and Vietnam, which to me, brought a feeling of PRIDE and GRATITUDE for their service, and sadness to see our AGING WARRIORS remembering their lost friends and their personal sacrifices.

AND IN THEIR FACES . . . I SAW MY DAD – WHO WAS A REAL HERO OF WWII:

My mission was simple before the event started . . . all I had to do was approach perfect strangers to hand out POPPIES, which no one had asked for or expected to receive.

And in spite of what you might think – please take my word for it . . .

When it comes to approaching strangers or anyone, to ask for anything, even to ask if they wanted to accept a FREE POPPY, it is a very difficult thing for me to do.

SO I SUCKED-IT-UP . . . and went to the first person, to ask if she wanted to wear a POPPY . . . for which her reaction and response, which I wasn’t prepared for, was to go to her pocket-book to take out money for the privilege of wearing a POPPY, to which I said; the POPPY was free, and was a my gift to her from a Canadian friend.

It didn’t take long before I went through the entire 200-plus POPPIES.

I CAME AWAY WITH SIMPLE OBSERVATIONS . . . THAT WEREN’T SO SIMPLE:

The Southern attitude amongst the people in FREEDOM PARK was not really exceptional to Southerners, but in this day and age, and so far removed from Northern Big Cities; and the LEFTIST attitude, it was remarkable and incredibly refreshing.

1 – People were more pleased than just somewhat to receive the POPPIES, and all said thank you.

2 – Even though the vast majority of people really wanted a POPPY, no one came to ask for one. But were exceptionally grateful to be a recipient when the POPPY was offered.

3 – And no one wanted Something-For-Nothing.

4 – It restored my belief in the GOODNESS . . . and the VALUES which America and Canada (my Native Land) were built upon, where Good People quietly stood in the hope of receiving something they didn’t pay for, without any expectations of entitlement.

AND IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN HOW I RESPONDED TO THOSE WHO WANTED TO PAY:

YESTERDAY . . . I repeated this statement more times than I can remember . . .

“There’s not enough money in this country to pay for these poppies, since they’ve already been bought and paid for by the Blood and Treasure of Patriots. Thank you for wearing the POPPY.”

This was a no-brainer. Each person who took and wore a POPPY felt privileged. But for me, I was the one who was privileged, because each smiling face that took one of my more than 200POPPIES – was a memory I will carry forever.

If Anne and I return to Cleveland Georgia next year for November 11th, we will bring 400-POPPIES, so no one will be left out.

GOD BLESS ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO FOUGHT AND STILL FIGHT FOR FREEDOM:

And God Bless all the people who smiled graciously, as they took and wore one of my POPPIES.

Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov

37 Comments

  • Bravo Howard!!!!!! Another great editorial for me to repost on FaceBook!

    Kate Stone, Klamath Falls, OR., USA
  • And God Bless you,

    Graham Ferguson, Oliver, B.C.
  • Brought a tear to my eye, Sir….

    Thank you for representing us and for remembering the service of those who sacrificed so much, for us…

    Ed Tait
    Victoria, B.C

    Ed Tait, Victoria British Columbia, Canada
  • Howard, growing up in Ottawa, I always remembered the poppies on Nov 11th. In elementary school in the 50’s we would be bused to the Cenotaph downtown and watched the parades of veterans. There were even some really old Boer War vets then.

    Brings back nice memories. As I am a senior now like these ‘old guys’ were then, it means more and more to me what they gave in service.

    David McDonald, Pasadena Texas
  • You’re a mensch Howard.
    God Bless You,

    Maggie E. Hermosa Bch, CA

    Maggie Evans, Hermosa Beach, CA
  • Southern folk are nice people Howard. I may live in Illinois (or I did when you first knew me) but I am a child of the Deep South and we are the Conservative America you only read about these days. Southern folks are as polite as the day is long; if they dislike you, they are even MORE polite. I subscribe to my Daddy’s creed:”A guest in my home can do no wrong. I may never invite him back, but while under my roof he is entitled to the finest hospitality I have to offer.” We live this creed.

    Teri Newman, Belleville IL
  • She was RIGHT Howard, you ARE a “mensch…and your Poppies brought tears to my eyes yesterday at our Veterans Day ceremony and again today in hearing about YOUR Veteran’s day in Georgia. THANK YOU from Old B-29Gunner!!
    Bud Farrell

    Bud Farrell, Georgetown, Texas, United States
  • Saw the Ypres ceremony on TV here in Belgium. Well done. Canada nicely represented.
    Even the German representatives laid a wreath.
    What was so obvious was the crowd consisted of 70 plus year olders and their grandchildren.
    Like it or not. End of an era.

    Kenneth Oldfield, Hasselt, Belgium
  • Howard—–This was a very thoughtful gesture on your [and Anne’s] part; the people in Georgia must have truly appreciated it. Also, there is so much pleasure in GIVING. Certain people should try it some time! Good job!

    PAULINE M DEMERS, Woonsocket, RI - USA
  • Howard, yesterday was the first time in about 50+ years that I went out on the 11th without a poppy. I felt embarrassed. I may not have been hitting all the shops and malls for the past month, but certainly there would have been at least one table for veterans and poppies where I went. But, sadly, this is Quebec, patriotic to federal Transfer Payments and not much else; the land of Big Trudeau and his idiot son, Baby Trudeau.

    Stephen Eisenberg, Montreal, Quebec
  • Howard, I read your blog every chance I get. I was a battleship sailor in the Korean War.
    USS WISCONSIN. I went to the local observance of November llth and saw not one Buddy
    Poppy.I am now 87 but when I was in the local VFW, buddy poppies was one way of raising
    money for our Post. It was required by National to buy so many poppies. Where have they
    gone??? Thanks for all you do. Ashley Raper, Rocky Mount, NC

    Ashley Raper, Rocky Mount, NC
  • Having grown up in GA and, being very familiar with Cleveland, I am not surprised at the reception you found there. I am, however, disappointed that Veterans’ Day celebration has changed somewhat down there. When I was growing up, back when the earth’s crust was still cooling, 5th and 6th grade students “sold” the poppies for $1 for a week before Veterans’ Day and, from third grade up, everyone memorized “Flanders Field.” Bless you and Ann for your gift to GA’s citizens.

    MaryLena Anderegg, Morehead City, NC
  • Sadly I’ve noticed less and less poppy wearers. Of course there are times people cannot get them but overall the numbers of wearers are down as though it is just an annoyance or considered unimportant. Ironically, saying ‘Thank you’ is the first thing we’re all taught to do, but for our military which gives us freedom and protection it seems to be a bitter issue. In my opinion this is just another example of people’s warped, modern values.

    Joe Eliott, Montreal, QC
  • During the WW2 I was just a little kid in Denmark, but came down with pneumonia. The only way to save me was with antibiotic. My doctor had some fly from England and drop it off at his home town and gave it to me. That is one of many reasons I am indebted to the veterans. I would not be here today if this pilot had not risked his life and dropped it off over enemy territory. I will forever be grateful to all veterans past and all who serve in the military today.

    Arne Hansen, Santa Ynez CA
  • reading yours Howard, then the reader input puts a lump in my throat too! And yes, as one old timer said (back in the 50’s) we saw people with commemorative poppy’s in shirt button holes all day – and EVERYONE knew why. It’s worrisome how we are in melt-down about patriotism here in the U.S. – Canada I hope isn’t also slipping into the pits like us in 50 ‘gone socialist’ states of America! Saluting and embracing you & Anne from the ‘Big Sky’!

    WP Will Elliott, Polson, Montana, United States
  • Thanks for the UPLIFTING article – there are still plenty of good people around!

    Gary Burd, Amarillo, TX
  • I know that American veterans wear poppies on Memorial Day rather than Veteran’s Day but I’ve always wondered why the American Legion and it’s branches don’t promote the wearing of poppies to the general public on November 11, as is done in the UK, Canada, and Australia. The poppy heightens everyone’s awareness to ‘Remember’ and to thank those that fought for our freedoms. And funds raised are used to help veterans in financial need as well as Legion branches, whose memberships are dwindling.

    Joel Goldman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • A number of years before I retired I had occasion to attend meetings in St.Louis MO on Nov.11. I flew via Cleveland. There was no direct flight from Toronto at that time. I wore my poppy. I was questioned quite a bit of the meaning of it. Even by the custom agent in Cleveland (before pre clearance in To). I had the honor of explaining its’ meaning to us and to me personally. Thank you for being such an excellent ambassador and the article. J. Dean

    James Dean, Oakville Ontario
  • Bravo Zulu, Howard and Anne!

    Arnold Eyre, Ottawa, Ontario
  • You and Ms. Anne are lovely, outstanding people. May God Bless you and keep you strong for the fight ahead.

    Alma Womack, Jonesville, LA USA
  • In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Deck Travis, Conway, Arkansas
  • Howard.. You are a very much appreciated good man. When you were looking for a winter location, I told you, here, that you would fit in nicely in north Georgia. After the holiday was renamed Veteran’s Day from Armistice Day in 1954, I guess we forgot about the poppies of Flanders Fields. During the 1930’s, florists sold cut flower poppies and in Alabama, almost every adult wore one. I hope the weather remains at least reasonably good for you before you head out again.

    John F. Morgan, Dalton, GA USA
  • I do recall years ago it might have been at malls or grocery stores veterans handing out poppies and accepting donations
    Which was more than happy to give, I guess that’s not allowed any more. Thank you for all you do. You are so right on.
    God Bless you and Anne.

    Patricia Batch, Chesterfield MO
  • You are a remarkable ambassador for Canada – thank you!!

    Kim McConnell, Ottawa, ON Canada
  • Wiping endless tears…thanks!

    John Smith, Toronto, ON
  • My American Legion Post 295 here in Elgin, Texas held a breakfast of all vets and handed out the poppies and about 11am lead a parade down Main Street to Veterans Park where they held a service for everyone, God bless all veterans and God Bless America, Canada, and Israel. May God help all His people as he did during the days of King David and all those leaders whose name appear in the old testament.

    Charles Matheson, Sr, Elgin, Texas
  • The USA has two days for remembering the fallen and those who fought in and survived our wars. Perhaps being an older country, we have had many more wars in our name to account for from the Revolutionary War to the most recent locations of undeclared war. Memorial Day was and is celebrated as the day to commemorate those who died and was started to honor the dead of the Civil War. Veterans Day is used to honor those who gave and survived: two distinct days of recognition for two types of hero.

    Jeffrey Zucker, Bellingham, WA
  • Howard, growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming in the 40’s and 50’s I remember my Mother and Father buying “Poppies” for years. As time went on the “Poppy” died out. I had the privilege of attending a 2015 “Veterans Appreciation Day” at the school of one of my Grand Daughters in Yukon, Oklahoma. There were donuts and coffee for the “Vets and Spouse” and a ” Poppy” was given to each Veteran by a student of the school. How kind and thoughtful that was. My eyes weld up in tears.

    Perry E Poling, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
  • Thank you Ambassador Howard, it’s always a tearful memorable day, particularly for those of us who can remember the war.
    You made it even more memorable for our friends South of the border who came across the sea to help England and our Allies defeat the enemy. We honour them all. God bless you and Anne.

    Ken Davies, Cornwall, Ontario
  • Thank you and Anne for the poppies. It has been so long since I saw the tradition upheld, that I had also forgotten the words to Flanders Field. And yes, we memorized it as kids. Since most all of our Dads were WW2 veterans, too, it was a rare kid that didn’t proudly sport a poppy, on Veterans Day.
    You doing this brought tears to my eyes.

    Nancy Nelson, Whitesboro, TX, USA
  • Excellent tribute by a Canucker. As a Vietnam Vet…I have seen varying degrees of appreciation for those who served so that others don’t have to. Thanks.

    Preston Ingalls, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
  • It will be interesting to see how many people save their poppy and wear it next year.

    Mike Wells, Calgary, Alberta
  • Howard, there are no words for what you did, bringing them the poppies. If there was such a thing as a Jewish saint, it would be you and Anne. God’s blessings always…and keep up the good work, and make Canada shine!
    To Deck Travis, thank you, for reciting ‘In Flanders Field’ in your comments. Both you and Howard brought tears to my eyes.
    Paula Rudner, Oshawa, ON

    Paula Rudner, Oshawa, ON
  • Howard, what a great story! Thank for being a patriot! You made a wonderful gesture in memory of those who died to keep us free. Thank you for your perception and kindness.

    Dorinne Dobson, Wickenburg, AZ
  • Please stop in and visit the Dixie Wing – Commemorative Air Force – hanger at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, GA. They have a hanger full of WW11 airplanes and a small museum. If you call them they can set up a tour or if you want to go up in the airplanes for a donation they can provide you that information. It is a wonderful place filled with wonderful volunteers (lots of Vets with great stories) who work tirelessly to keep the airplanes flying. CALL 678-364-1110. You would really enjoy it!!!

    Diane M. George, Henderson, NV
  • Howard, we just held our school’s Remembrance Day assembly. I have always maintained, as a teacher, that if our school was allowed only one assembly a year, it should be dedicated to Remembrance Day. I don’t know if you’ve watched a youtube video for “A Pittance of Time” by Terry Kelly, but it would be well worth you, and your readers, to watch it. It is so very moving!

    Celine Holloway, Regina, Saskatchewan

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