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 200–POPPIES – 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