Fellow Sons, AMVETS family members, and friends,

On May 2, 1915, during WWI, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed in action and buried in a makeshift grave. Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves. This inspired Canadian officer and surgeon John McRae, on the next day, to pen one of the most famous wartime poems, “In Flanders Fields”. Since publication and for over 100 years, the compelling symbol of remembrance has been the poppy.

It is solemnly appropriate to share this poem as we recognize the more than one million men and women of the United States Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice while carrying out their duties.

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 sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we 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 ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

As former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, aptly stated in 1976: “The defense of freedom is a sacred trust bequeathed to all Americans, especially Americans in uniform. As we pay homage to our defenders of the past, we also salute the vigilant men and women of today's Armed Forces who safeguard our freedom of the present and the future.”
Forever may the Almighty bless them and may God Bless America.

With warmest regards,

Richard H. Thibodeau
National Sons of AMVETS