Story of memorial day poppy publicPresentation Transcript
The Story of the Memorial Day Poppy annecelestep Memorial Day, 2011
The Memorial Day Poppy Each year around Memorial Day, Veterans of Foreign Wars members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans
The field poppy is an annual plant which flowers each year between about May and August. It's seeds are disseminated on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed from the early spring the seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow.
The Memorial Day Poppy The story of the Memorial Day Poppy begins on a Belgium battlefield during WW I
W W I Battles at Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
Oct/Nov 1914 – 200,000 casualties
April/May 1915 – 100,000 casualties
July – Nov 1917 - 200,000 casualties
Crosses in Flanders
Trench digging, battle action and burials released the poppy seeds
“ In Flanders Field”
A Canadian medical officer, John McCrae, noticed how the poppies had sprung up around the graves and crosses, and he was inspired to write the poem “In Flander's Field” (originally titled “We Shall Not Sleep”
"Flanders Field" Poem
Moina Michael read the poem in the Ladies Home Journal on Nov 9, 1918, two days before the first Armistice Day
In her autobiography Ms. Michael says she felt as though she were actually being called in person by the voices of the dead soldiers to remember them.
She felt the poppy should become the symbol to remember fallen soldiers
For more on her story click here:
The Story of the Poppy
The page from the Ladies Home Journal
Idea Catches On
By 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW were selling poppies made by volunteers and disabled veterans for the benefit of veterans
Poppies in Europe
Madame Anna E Guérin, a representative of the French YMCA , attended a National American Legion convention
She was inspired by Moina Michael's idea of the poppy as a memorial flower
She conceived of the idea of the poppies being sold to raise money for the benefit of the French people, especially the children orphaned by the war.
Other Allied Countries
Madame Guerin visited or sent representatives to Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia to speak about the poppy memorial
By 1922 all of these countries had adopted the poppy to remember soldiers killed in war.
British Commonwealth countries now have elaborate services in November on “Remembrance Day” which feature the poppy.
Remembrance Day Great Britain (The famous wearing the poppy)