Memorial Day: Wear Your Poppy | Harvey Designs | Event and Floral Design | Savannah, GA

A very special thank you to all the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day is today. Put on a poppy and remember those who have died in service to their country.

Poppy Appeal is a British Legion armed forces charity and provides poppy pins for their Remembrance Day on November 11th.

The use of a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance started in Europe after WWI when Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae witnessed the death of a friend and wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” (1915) :

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.

Paper or silk poppies are worn instead of live poppies due to their fragile petals that are easily crushed. A way of honoring our dead that reminds us of the fragility of life.

The use of poppies in the United States didn’t become popular until a poem inspired by “In Flanders Fields” was published by Moina Michael, a Georgia native and professor at the University of Georgia.  Her poem, entitled “We Shall Keep the Faith” was published in 1918.

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.

Through Michael, the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for war veterans.   Her humanitarian efforts and fundraising for servicemen through sales of silk poppies earned her the nick name “the Poppy Lady”.  A section of US highway 78 in Georgia was named after her as well as a commemorative stamp from the US Postal Service:

Michael vowed to always wear a poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

So we will keep that faith and never forget those who died to defend us, those who honorably fought for us and the brave that are serving us now.

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