I remember the first time I saw a wild poppy. I was in the back of my Aunts car and she was talking when I looked out the window and saw these wild bright red flowers. I asked her what they were. “Les Coquelicots” was her reply. I didn’t recognize the name. “Poupy,” Is what she replied back to me in her English. It took me a moment…”Red flower that sounds like poopy…. Poppies!
When I realized what they were… immediately my heart rejoiced. I have always loved remembrance day and the symbol of the poppy. I have forever loved John McCrae’s poem, Flanders Fields. It thrilled me to see the French countryside that day the beautiful wild poppies.
My grandfather Rollingson fought in a war. He entered the service at 16. (He lied about his birth to sign up and fight.) He did return but a lot was sacrificed too… it wasn’t his life they took but he came back from war an alcoholic. I have always counted it as part of his sacrifice.
I never really knew my grandpa Rollingson. In fact, until the end of his life I had only seen him a few times. My grandfather got sick at the end of his life and my dad took care of him. My father made arrangements for him to enter a retirement home in Cardston. This is when I regularly saw my grandpa. He had a good sense of humor and I think was grateful to see us.
I have always had a great sense of pride about my grandfather. I’ve always looked at him with great sympathy and felt honored he would sacrifice so much… kind of everything for his country, my country, our country.
I love poppies. I love that I have seen then grow wild and free. I love that I would see them again as a missionary. I love that they are red. I love that they remind me to never forget. I love wearing one every year at this time and remembering the countless people who sacrificed everything for me.
So wear your poppy, lest you forget!