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MARK’S FIRST POPPY

By: Carole Crawford

It was a cold windy afternoon in November. Mark was
on the bus coming home from school. The School bus
passed the grocery store and the bank as it did every
day. But today Mark saw something different. The older
children on the bus were talking and pointing. Mark
listened to them but was puzzled.

When Mark got off the bus, he ran into his house. He
quickly took off his coat, hat and boots. His Grandpa was
visiting, so he hurried over to him, grabbed his hand and
pulled him into the living room. “Grandpa, I saw a man
dressed in a uniform giving away red flowers,” Mark
began. “The man was wearing a red flower just like the
one you have on your shirt. The older kids on the bus
were talking about the man and the war. They called it
Novenbrance Day. What were they talking about?”

“Well Mark,” his Grandpa began as he sat down in the
big olive green chair. “First of all it’s called Remembrance
Day. I will be happy to tell you what it is all about.”

Mark sat on the foot stool in front of his Grandpa and
was ready to listen carefully. “The man that you saw in
the uniform was once a brave soldier,” Grandpa began.
“Many soldiers have fought in different wars throughout
history. You see, wars are not just stories of the past,
they are going on right now in other countries. Wars are
fought for many different reasons: to protect our freedom,
sometimes to change things, but most of all to keep peace throughout
the world.”

“I see Grandpa, but what are the red flowers for?” Mark
asked, pointing to the one his Grandpa was wearing.

“The red flowers that the soldier was giving away are
called Poppies. In return for the Poppy, people give him
money. The money is used to help soldiers and their
families.”

“Why do they give Poppies and not some other flower?”
interrupted Mark.

“They chose the Poppy because the worst fighting
in history took place in an area called Flanders, in a
country called Belgium. In the spring, while the war
was still going on, Poppies bloomed in the fields that
were destroyed by the war. The soldiers were amazed
that something so beautiful as the Poppy could grow
in such an ugly wasteland.” Grandpa then reached for
the Poppy on his shirt and unpinned it. He held it carefully
in his hand and stared at it for a second and then
continued. “That is why the Poppy became a symbol
of Remembrance of the war.”

“Our soldiers have fought very hard for peace and they
left us with the job of keeping it.” Grandpa said as he
pointed to Mark and then himself. “We must learn to live
peacefully everyday, not just with our neighbours but
with the entire world. I have a little poem that I like to
tell people about Remembrance Day. Would you like to
hear it Mark?” asked Grandpa while he pinned his Poppy
on the left side of Mark’s shirt.

“Yes” answered Mark with a smile.

“We wear a Poppy in November

To show that we’re proud

And that we remember.”

Mark looked at his Grandpa then turned and ran to his
room. Grandpa was puzzled. Mark returned with his hands
full of pennies and said, “Grandpa, can I go get you a
Poppy now?”

Grandpa looked at him proudly. “You certainly can Mark.
You certainly can!”

© Kids Kingston 2014
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