Poppies for Memorial Day

Origin

  • The poppy as a wartime symbol comes from the famous poem  “In Flanders  Fields,” written by John McCrae in 1915. In it he described the graves of  soldiers among the fields of poppies:

    “In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on  row…”

Memorial Day Symbol

  • In 1915 an American named Moina Michael was inspired by the poem to wear and  sell red poppies on Memorial Day to benefit  servicemen in need. The practice spread to other countries.

VFW and the Poppy

  • In 1922, the VFW sold poppies nationally. They soon began their “Buddy Poppy”  program, selling  artificial poppies made by disabled war veterans.

Veteran’s Day Symbol

  • The poppy eventually became a symbol of honor and remembrance for servicemen  who died in any war, not just World War I, and the poppy is now associated with  Veteran’s Day as well as Memorial  Day.

In Other Countries

Other countries have similar observances involving poppies on Nov.  11–Canadians wear red poppies, and in Great Britain, wreaths of poppies are  laid at a London war memorial.

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