The last Monday of May is Memorial Day in the United States. You will probably be offered a red poppy walking into the grocery store or taking a walk downtown.

What does the red poppy signify on Memorial Day?

The red poppy was a flower that would grow on the war-torn battlefields in Europe during World War 1. This amazing fact did not go unnoticed. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) set a mission to construct paper and silk poppies for people to wear to remember those who died in World War I. It was also a way to employ needy and disabled servicemen and women. They named them the 'Buddy Poppy.'

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MORE: What Is the True Meaning of Memorial Day?

After seeing harsh fighting in WWI, a Canadian soldier, Colonel John McCrae, was inspired to write a poem entitled, "In Flanders Fields.'

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.

Colonel John McCrae


Memorial Day 2022

LOOK: 100 years of American military history




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