Poppies for Remembrance – Veterans Day


I remember the 1950s when everyone had a bright red poppy in their lapel for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  My Dad, was in the US Coast Guard  and he would bring one home on those days.  They would sell poppies on the street corners, news stands, all around the city.
Moina Michael, known as the “Poppy Lady”, chose the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I.   In Belgium and in Northern France after World War I,  poppies grew wild in the battlefields over the graves of the fallen soldiers.  Moina was a Professor in the US and a humanitarian.  She adopted the custom of wearing the bright red poppy and sold poppies to friends and coworkers .

Madam Guerin, know as The Poppy Lady from France, was visiting in the States, and took back the custom to France, using the money for widows and orphans.  Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, France, Belgium, South Africa and many other countries also adopted this tradition and celebrate on Remembrance Day, aka Armistice Day, November 11.   Poppies are now given in exchange for a contribution to raise money for veterans and their families by The Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion Auxiliary here in the US.   Moina was inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Physician (1872-1918).

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 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.”                                                       – Lieutenant Colonel JohnMcCrae, MD

Inspired by the words in  In Flanders Fields, Moina wrote her poem:
We Shall Keep the Faith                                                                         
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw                                                                                                           And holding high, we keep the Faith                                                                                          With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red,                                                                                                       That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red,                                                                                                                 Of the flower that blooms above the dead In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red,
We wear in honor of our dead,
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought?                                                                                              In Flanders Fields, In Flanders Fields we fought.   –    Moina Michael – November 1918

Blessings and remembrance to all those who served and serving today,


This entry was posted in Poppies, Poppies for Remembrance, Veterans Day and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.