The Red Poppy is widely known as the symbol of remembrance for the loss of loved ones during war. But how did this resilient little flower become the motif for Veterans? In 1915, World War I was raging across Europe. Amid all the destruction, vibrant red flowers began to grow in the battlefields, as if in defiance of violence. These dynamic poppy fields inspired Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to pen the famous poem. "In Flanders Fields," McCrae, a Canadian serving as a Surgeon, witnessed the bloody carnage where the Germans decimated allied forces. The verses speak of sacrifice and loss of life during World War I.
"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."
Across the ocean, in America, a woman named Molina Micheal was deeply affected by John McCrae's poem. Her eyes found it in the Ladies Home Journal pages that November. Just a few days before the armistice. Moina began wearing a red poppy as a sign of faith and remembrance of the sacrifices of Flanders Field. She found fabric and crafted Brooches for her department store colleagues to wear. She began campaigning for the Poppy to become a national symbol of remembrance, eventually adopting it by the American Legion.
Meanwhile, back in France, a woman named Anna Guérin also advocated the symbolic power of the red Poppy. Guérin was invited to the American Legion Convention to speak on behalf of her idea of an "Inter-Allied Poppy Day."Madame Guérin helped convince the Legion members to adopt the Poppy as their symbol. "National Poppy Day" was celebrated in the United States the following year.
Since then, the Poppy has become a powerful symbol of remembrance worldwide. Veterans and their families wear red poppies to tribute those who have served. You'll see them at military funerals and other ceremonies honoring those who have fallen in battle.