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Lessons of the Red Poppy on this Veteran's Day

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, is Veteran's Day. As always, we would like to share our annual Veteran's Day blog with our readers.

As this Veteran's Day approaches, it is the 102nd Anniversary of the end of World War I. Dubbed the "war to end all wars" by H.G. Wells, the fighting ended with casualties totaling in excess of 40 million people between military personnel and civilians. According to best estimates, there were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The deaths included 9.7 million military personnel and over 10 million civilians.

And from those blood-stained fields of Europe rose hundreds of thousands of red poppies, which came to symbolize remembrance of those who served and those who died. I first became familiar with the story of the red poppy some five decades ago upon meeting a veteran from a small town on the Delaware River called Easton. His name was John. I became aware of him while walking with my father along that town's main street one year in the 1960s during the Christmas season.

There he stood in front of the local Army and Navy store in that small Pennsylvania town, seemingly standing guard, at the front door of the store. In one hand was a coffee cup and in the other, a cigarett