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Veterans Day Message from John

Nov 11, 2005

This being Veterans day, hence:


The word veteran ultimately comes from
Latin veter/vetus, "old" (which became
veteranus, "of long experience").It's original
meaning was old soldier or one who had a
long history of military service. Our modern
meaning in US, is any ex-service person.
The word armistice is derived from the Latin
armistitium, from arma, "arms" and -stitium,
"stopping." It means a temporary cessation
from fighting or the use of arms, a short truce.
The poppy is a small red flower that grows
wild in the fields of Europe - where many of
those who died in World War I, are buried.
Poppies have long been associated with
World War I memorials through the poem,
"In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Army
physician John McCrae:

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 the sunset glow, Loved, and were
loved, we now lie in Flanders fields. Take up
our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing
hands we throw The torch, be yours to hold it
high. If you break faith with us who die, we
shall not sleep, though poppies grow In
Flanders fields.

Flanders is the name of the whole western
part of Belgium and Flanders Fields' is also
the name of an American war cemetery near
Waregem, Belgium, where several hundred
Americans are buried. Flanders was the site of
heavy fighting during World War I and the
poppy came to symbolize both the beauty of
the land and the blood shed there. In several
countries, like the US, paper poppies are sold
to raise money for the support of veterans and
are worn in the lapel, a sign of remembrance.

A tomb is any place of burial, but to most it
means a chamber or vault in the earth. The
word is derived from Latin tumba and Greek
tymbos, "sepulchral mound." The principal
observation of Veterans' Day in the US still
takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier. Sentries maintain a vigil at the grave
site throughout the year and, since 1960, a
flaming torch first lit in Antwerp, Belgium,
has been mounted there. Taps are sounded at
11:00 a.m. on November 11 and a wreath is
place on the shrine.