The Reds and I bought poppies today. As I was pinning them on, Luke asked what they're for. I told him that it's a way to show soldiers how much we appreciate the hard work they do, keeping people safe.
Matthew: And they fight in wars, right?
Me: Yes, unfortunately, they do.
Luke: I'm gonna fight in a war one day, Mummy. I'm gonna be the first one there!
Me: I sure hope not, Lukey. I don't want anyone to fight in a war, but especially not you.
Matthew: Don't worry, Mummy! If Luke goes, I'll go too and then you won't have to worry.
An elderly woman approached on unsteady feet, leaning heavily on her cane. She peered down at the boys, stroked Luke's cheek, Matthew's hair.
"Sweet boys. Let us pray your mother never sees a day when she must send two fine lads like you to war."
She lifted her gaze to me and offered a sad smile.
"Three of my sons fought in the war," she explained. I nodded, sensing there was more.
"Only one returned to me."
"I'm so sorry," I gasped, hoping it was enough, knowing that it couldn't possibly be.
She gestured to the Reds, now proudly showing one another their poppies, mucking about.
"Your sons. May God keep them with you always."
"Amen," said a deep, weary voice behind us.
It was a soldier, beret smartly titled on his head, poppy over his uniformed heart.
She touched his arm, the poppy and offered a watery smile and a whisper: "Thank you, son."
The soldier, clearly touched, lifted his chin and smiled back.
And you? In whose memory do you wear a poppy?