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Story of the Memorial Day Poppy

A short history of how the poppy became the symbol of remembrance on Memorial and Veterans Day.

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Story of the Memorial Day Poppy

  1. 1. The Story of the Memorial Day Poppy annecelestep Memorial Day, 2011
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. The Poppy <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Memorial Day Poppy The story of the Memorial Day Poppy begins on a Belgium battlefield during WW I
  5. 5. W W I Battles at Ypres, Flanders, Belgium <ul><ul><li>Oct/Nov 1914 – 200,000 casualties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>April/May 1915 – 100,000 casualties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>July – Nov 1917 - 200,000 casualties </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Crosses in Flanders <ul><li>Trench digging, battle action and burials released the poppy seeds </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ In Flanders Field” <ul><li>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” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Flanders Field&quot; Poem </li></ul>
  8. 8. A Calling? <ul><li>Moina Michael read the poem in the Ladies Home Journal on Nov 9, 1918, two days before the first Armistice Day </li></ul>
  9. 9. A Calling? <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>She felt the poppy should become the symbol to remember fallen soldiers </li></ul><ul><li>For more on her story click here: </li></ul><ul><li>The Story of the Poppy </li></ul><ul><li>The page from the Ladies Home Journal </li></ul>
  10. 10. Idea Catches On <ul><li>By 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW were selling poppies made by volunteers and disabled veterans for the benefit of veterans </li></ul>
  11. 11. Poppies in Europe <ul><li>Madame Anna E Guérin, a representative of the French YMCA , attended a National American Legion convention </li></ul><ul><li>She was inspired by Moina Michael's idea of the poppy as a memorial flower </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Other Allied Countries <ul><li>Madame Guerin visited or sent representatives to Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia to speak about the poppy memorial </li></ul><ul><li>By 1922 all of these countries had adopted the poppy to remember soldiers killed in war. </li></ul>
  13. 13. British Commonwealth <ul><li>British Commonwealth countries now have elaborate services in November on “Remembrance Day” which feature the poppy. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Remembrance Day Great Britain (The famous wearing the poppy)
  15. 15. The Infamous Wearing the Poppy
  16. 16. Poppy Sales USA
  17. 17. Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium <ul><li>Once on a Belgium battlefield, </li></ul><ul><li>Young armies came to play. </li></ul><ul><li>Now the ghosts of a million soldiers, </li></ul><ul><li>Warn the brave away. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Wear your poppy proudly!