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645,000 Poppies, Each Representing A Fallen Service Member, On Display At The National Mall
This Memorial Day weekend, a temporary installation honoring the nation’s fallen service members dating back to World War I will be on display at the National Mall in Washington.
The Poppy Memorial, located near the reflecting pool by the Lincoln Memorial, measures 133 feet in length and stands over 8 feet tall. A series of glass panels cover one side, and within are more than 645,000 artificial poppy flowers — each one representing a serviceman or woman who gave their lives in defense of the United States since 1915.
Created by USAA as part of their annual Memorial Day ceremony in 2016, the current memorial is a traveling exhibit, larger in scale, more more robust, and able to be set up outdoors. This year marks the first large public display of the memorial; it will be on the South side of the Lincoln Memorial from May 25 to May 27.
“Many are not necessarily aware of what the significance, or purpose, of Memorial Day,” Eric Engquist, USAA’s vice president of enterprise brand management and a former U.S. Army infantry officer and West Point graduate, told Task & Purpose. “The wall really does stand as a reminder of the price of freedom, that we all enjoy.”
On one side of the wall will be the multitude of poppies, and the other will feature a collection of facts and figures from U.S. conflicts dating back to World War I. There are interactive screens set up around the exhibit, which visitors can use to learn about the the individual service members memorialized on the Poppy Memorial.
The memorial poppies were donated by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The significance of the poppies stems from Lt. Col. John McCrae’s World War I poem In Flanders Field. Since then, the poppy flower has been a symbol of remembrance for the fallen:
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.
“This idea came about to kind of reframe the context around memorial day and bring awareness to the sacrifice of our servicemembers, and in particular, those who laid down their lives since World War I,” Engquist said. “We encourage people to take action, and not just acknowledge the somber nature of the memorial, but we ask people to wear a poppy that day and honor those sacrifices.”
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.
The 7-day "reduction in violence" negotiated between the United States and the Taliban is set to begin on Feb. 22, an Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Task & Purpose on Monday.
A temporary truce beginning on Saturday that would last for one week is seen as a crucial test between the Taliban, U.S., and Afghan governments that would prove all parties to a potential peace deal can control their forces. Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to confirm the date on Sunday.
"That is a moving date because we are still doing consultations, if you will," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters.