Homemade poppies to grace town hall for Memorial Day
The annual Memorial Day parade in New Milford may have been canceled, but the sacrifices of the fallen will not be forgotten this year.
The Connecticut Society of the Children of the American Revolution is spearheading a project involving its members and the community that will recognize Memorial Day.
Homemade poppies will be placed on the front lawn of Roger Sherman Town Hall on Memorial Day.
“I’m hoping it’s a project that will bring us all together since we can’t be together on the Green this year,” said Jennie Rehnberg, senior state president of CAR and a member of the Roger Sherman Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, which serves the Greater New Milford area.
“It’s a way to salute those who we have lost,” she said. I think it will highlight the importance of the day.”
The town’s veterans committee announced it canceled this year’s parade to further reduce the spread of the coronavirus, given the stay-at-home and social distancing orders (be on the lookout for updates in upcoming editions of The Spectrum about other ways Memorial Day will be recognized).
Alexis Delmore of the Connecticut Society of the Children of the American Revolution, state president elect, said the parade is an event many people look forward to each year.
With it being canceled, the paper poppies will represent and remind those who drive by to reflect on the meaning of the holiday.
Delmore will lead CAR members in the project, which is also open to New Milford residents.
Mayor Pete Bass has given his blessing for the Memorial Day project.
Individuals are invited to participate in the craft project through May 20.
CAR is supplying the directions for the project that can be made from materials many families already have.
Materials include a small red paper plate (or any paper plate), scissors, black paint or a black marker, and jumbo popsicle sticks.
Popsicle sticks will be added to the poppy if not included when submitted.
Those who don’t have a red paper plate are invited to use any paper plate, or color a non-red plate red.
To make the poppy, cut four V shapes around the paper plate so it looks like a flower.
Black paint or marker can be used to color the center black.
The paper plate can be stapled to the popsicle stick to complete the project.
“I think that DAR and CAR are fabulous and just don’t seem to stop,” said Jeff McBreairty, commander of the Ezra Woods Post 31, American Legion in town. “They’re always doing something considerate and doing something for the community.”
He said the poppy project was a “good idea.”
“(The veterans committee) puts on the ceremony on Memorial Day, but people don’t stop to realize that the unsung heroes are the mothers and fathers that had to stay home and worry about their children while they were fighting,” McBreairty related.
“That takes as much courage — or more courage — and stamina to be able to withstand the worry, pain and hurt if their son or daughter never came home again from war.”
The tradition of poppies is from World War I.
Poppies grew everywhere on a battlefield in Belgium and they seemed to represent the bloodstained ground where soldiers had died.
The red and black flowers symbolize the memorial of deaths for those who had paid the ultimate price in combat.
Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields,” reflects this message.
The idea of making paper poppies originated from a member of CAR last year, according to Rehnberg.
When the pandemic hit and events like the parade were canceled, the idea of making homemade poppies for Memorial Day was resurrected.
“We’re encouraging all towns to take it and run with it,” Rehnberg said.
“This could very well be a teaching moment for the families,” she said. “They can sit down and talk about it with their children, or sit down and talk about whether anyone in their family has served.”
Poppies can be dropped off at town hall, 10 Main St., in the designated box inside the main entrance on May 20, or mailed to Alexis Delmore, 65 Tanguay Road, Kent, CT 06757.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Society of the Children of the American Revolution is the nation’s oldest, largest, patriotic youth organization and offers membership to anyone under age 22 lineally descended from someone who rendered material aid to the cause of American Independence.
The NSCAR trains good citizens, develops leaders, and promotes love of the United States of America and its heritage among young people.
NSCAR activities focus on patriotism, service, conservation, preservation and education about our American history.
Be on the lookout in future editions of The Spectrum for ways the town will recognize Memorial Day.