While U.S. flags come out on Memorial Day, poppies are more identified with Veterans Day. Originally called Armistice Day and commemorating the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended the fighting in World War I, the date is linked internationally to the opening lines of the haunting war poem “In Flanders Fields”:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row.
The commemoration became a U.S. national holiday in 1935 and was renamed in 1954. Unlike Memorial Day, a holiday dating from the end of the Civil War and honoring those who died while serving in the armed forces, Veterans Day honors all veterans.
Irfan Khan has been a staff photographer with the Los Angeles Times since 1996. He previously served as a freelance photographer for the publication beginning in 1989. Khan started his career as a commercial photographer in 1973 in Pakistan and moved to Dubai in 1977, where he worked for an advertising agency and at a leading English newspaper. Khan’s assignments have taken across Southern California and the U.S. Internationally, he has photographed the Hajj in Saudi Arabia and war zones of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was part of the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for coverage of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to semi-classical music of the Indian subcontinent and playing cricket on Sundays.