Poppies and Poetry Move Me

canva-poppies-stringI cannot tell you how many times I was given the assignment to memorize, In Flanders Fields. Seems to me it was every November, throughout grade school!

Sadly, when I tried to remember it just a few days ago, I could only recall a few lines, but thanks to Google, I was able to quickly pull it up for a refresher.

It’s a lovely poem with a sound both sober and lilting–if that’s possible–perhaps because it takes me back to childhood. And while I always hated getting called on to recite it in front of the class, I always liked the way I felt when I said the words. Even now, when I read it out loud, it echoes in my heart.

So this November 11th, known here in Canada as Remembrance Day, I give to you, In Flanders Fields.

 

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

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 foecanva-poppies
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

By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae  

 


Author Kathryn Jane,  loves poppies, poetry, people, and cats!

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Solving Cold Cases: One Match at a Time #RSsos #MissingPersons @Stephitay

Lost & Found: Solving Cold Cases One Match at a Time #RSsos #amwriting

 

When you hear about a mass disaster, what event comes to mind? Earthquake? Tsunami? Terrorist attack?

That was my first thought until I attended the Killer Nashville writer’s conference in October. There I learned about what experts now call “The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster” or the high number of missing and unidentified persons reported every year in the United States.

I walked into the session titled, Forensic Services for Human ID, hoping to obtain research for a story I was writing about a missing person investigation.  The presenter, Todd Matthews (Director of Communications & Quality Assurance at the Forensics Services Unit UNT Center for Human Identification) did a stellar job highlighting this growing crisis.  He also provided information about a free resource called National Missing and Unidentified Persons System or NamUs.

At the end of the presentation, my goal became more than writing this tool into a story plot. I was compelled to share this information with others.


Here are some alarming nationwide figures I found on a 2014 fact sheet reported on the  NamUs webpage:

    • 4,400 unidentified remains are found each year, 1,000 remain unidentified after one year
    • 90,000 active missing person cases at any given time

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NamUs, funded by the National Institute of Justice, is an unidentified person database that serves as a clearing house for two separate repositories– one for unidentified persons and one for missing persons. The NamUs database can be searched by anyone, but law enforcement and other agencies have access to more advanced tools built into the system.

This accessible tool works in a couple of different ways:

  • If someone is missing, information can be entered with specific details to be searched such as tattoos, clothing, physical features, and jewelry. Family members can enter this information directly into the system. Law Enforcement can also assist them with this process.
  • The records of unidentified persons can be entered by medical examiners and coroners.
  • Once in the system, the records can be searched for potential matches.
  • The unified system allows investigators to compare a potential match side-by-side.
  • If there is a match, the information is presented to investigators for review.

As of October 2014:

      • 20,917 total missing person cases were reported to NamUs – 7,537 cases were resolved (821 with NamUs assistance) -however 10,546 active cases remain in the database
      • 11,621 total unidentified person cases were reported to NamUs – 1,471 cases were resolved (381 with NamUs assistance) – 9,845 active cases remain in the database

Short Video – The Missing and the Dead: Inside America’s Coldest Cases


Currently there are new upgrades in the works for the NamUs system. One tool will have the capability of reuniting family members during “critical incidents” such as multi-state or large-scale events.  Some other features in development are a central database for victim accounting, a system for the public to self-report and make others aware they are safe during a disaster, and one that provides real-time victim data to assist emergency personnel in responding.

Although the NamUs program has provided several free tools to inform the public, many people are unaware of this resource. Which brings me back to the purpose of my post – helping to spread the word. So whether this information finds a place in one of your plots (which was encouraged during the session), or perhaps on your social media site, we are all playing a small role in helping to solve cold cases one match at a time.

 

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The True Meaning of Memorial Day #RSsos @StephiTay

In addition to the picnics, sporting events, and a three-day weekend, Memorial Day is a time to remember the brave men and women who died serving our nation and its values.

To show my appreciation for those who risked all ensuring our freedom, I collected a few inspiring quotes that highlight the true meaning of Memorial Day. The pictures are from my trip to Washington D.C. and one I will never forget.


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Iwo Jima Memorial – Washington D.C.

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.” -Wallace Bruce


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Tomb of the Unknowns – Arlington Cemetery – Washington, D.C.

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” -Aaron Kilbourn


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War World II Memorial – Washington, D.C.

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude America will never forget their sacrifices.” – President Harry Truman


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Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C.

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” -Minot J. Savage


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Arlington National Cemetery – Washington, D.C.

“For love of country they accepted death.” -James A. Garfield


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Women in War Nurses Memorial – Washington, D.C.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. -Joseph Campbell


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THANKS TO THOSE WHO GAVE ALL AND THOSE STILL SERVING.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!