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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Few are left who can remember the events of one hundred years ago although many of us can remember those of a certain age who were part of the great war that tore through Europe and brought about changes in the way that not only conflict between nations was waged and solved, but also in the way the United States was seen across the world. The First World War should have ended it, should have brought about a lasting peace, but instead we found a conflict where the most inhumane and destructive means of warfare were undertaken by all sides.

In a time before dog tags, when horses were still the main means of transportation and air superiority was not the main guiding force in winning, the war to end all wars ended up just being a prelude to the next conflict twenty years later. For Iowa doughboys, who for the most part had never left their own states let alone crossed the sea, the reasons for going were many, but as war goes, not all of those boys came home. They sacrificed in the name of freedom, and there are lessons for all of us in their sacrifice and in the name of freedom today.

On the west end of Dexter, just north of Drew’s Chocolates near a home that my Great-Aunt Agnes lived in when I was a boy, stands a small patch of poppies that grow and bloom every May. Each time I drive by and see their giant orange-red blooms I’m reminded not only of those who went off to war and came home changed in ways you and I will never fully realize, but also for those who never came home at all and rest in faraway places in the name of freedom. While we pause this holiday weekend, let us remember those in France and Belgium and unmarked graves around the world. Let us be ever vigilant of our place in the world, and of the responsibility we as Americans hold in perpetuating the cause of that freedom that young men and women have made the supreme sacrifice in the name of.



In Flanders Fields- John McCrae


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.