“In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row.”
So begins one of the most famous poems about war and from a time of war.
At The National World War I Museum, you walk across a poppy field to go back in time.
This weekend, beginning with Veterans Day on Friday, veterans and active duty military personnel receive free admission to the museum, while the general public receives half-price admission.
There was also a free public ceremony, which honored veterans of all wars, at 10 a.m. on Friday featuring speeches by dignitaries and musical performances.
Curator of education, Lora Vogt, says the museum puts human faces on the story of war and encourages us to understand how the past impacts our present and future.
For some, November 11 is still called Armistice Day marking the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when World War I ended.
But now, it is a day to remember and salute all veterans and their families who have given so much to our country and to the world.
Matt Naylor, president of the museum, puts it this way, “The past doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme.”
Which brings us back to where we started, in Flanders fields:
“To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
Grandfather, grandson create memories at WWI Museum
Veterans across the country are being honored Friday as we remember those who served and are serving our country.
For Ed Planco, who served in the Air Force, this Veterans Day is something special.
“First Veterans Day I've ever taken off from work, and I've been out of the service for 30 years now,” Planco said. “And I think it's because of my grandson.”
Veterans like Planco had the opportunity to tour the World War I Museum for free.
“This is a good thing, for this to be made available today,” Planco said.
As Planco’s grandson Bayne Yoakam recites "Flanders Fields," it brings different emotions for his grandfather.
“It brings tears to my eyes to hear him recite such a poem of places I visited and I've seen and understand the horrors of war,” Planco said. “It really warms my heart."
Planco and his grandson toured the museum, looking back at history, honoring those who serve.
“I feel I can come here and celebrate that as a reminder to myself and others of all the sacrifices people make to us free and for us to have the life we have in this country,” Planco said.
“It's a day where we can finally honor our military and thank them for protecting our country,” Bayne said.
Honoring all the men and women who protected our country, including Bayne’s grandfather.
“He has served our country and that is good,” Bayne said.
Joel Nichols can be reached at email@example.com.