As we celebrate Veterans Day in November and Memorial Day in May, many Americans often wear a poppy to honor our military servicemembers. Here are a few facts you may not have know about the small red flower.
- After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. The red poppy flowers bloomed above the battle graves because the ground was cultivated (the soil was churned up and dug up for the graves and the same for the battle grounds) and that is what the dormant seeds that were beneath the ground all the time needed to make them grow.
- In 1918, Moina Michael popularized the idea of wearing a poppy flower in memory of the war dead. She was moved by Lt. Col. McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields,” when she wrote the following response:
… the blood of heroes never dies
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Field
Michael later started a campaign to adopt the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice. Read more here about Moina Michael and the war poem that inspired her.
- On Remembrance Day, the poppy is worn to symbolize the sacrifices made by servicemembers around the world during World War I.
- The American Legion Family passes out paper poppies on Memorial Day and throughout the year to raise funds for veterans. The red poppies serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by fallen servicemembers. The World War I Flanders Fields red poppy are worn world-wide on Veterans Day in the US (also known as Remembrance Day in the foreign countries remembering the sacrifices of their veterans).
- Poppies have a long history of being used to honor the dead, with them having roots in Greek and Roman mythology.
- The California state flower is the Golden Poppy in shades of apricot-peach-orange with delicate petals that are velvety in texture, similar to the WWI Flanders Fields red poppy, worn to remember the sacrifices of our deceased military veterans.
Read more about the poppy by clicking here and here.
Note: Information provided by a thirty-year ALA member who has promoted the Flanders Fields Red Poppy for the same length of time and continually shares the story of its origin.
Thanks for this information. I didn’t know it. I shared it on facebook as I’m 62 and I’m sure there’s a little t who don’t know this…I vaguely remember people selling poppies! I shared it because I think it’s important for us as Americans to not lose this!
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Thanks for sharing, Maggie! And thank you for helping tell this story.
I have Poppy’s in my yard as soon as they bloom I always stop and think of my dad he gave me the flowers years ago. I carry a Poppy when visiting him at Arlington Cemetery. Thank you for the facts.
[…] By wearing poppies on National Poppy Day, we’ll not ony honor every servicemember who died in the name of liberty, freedom, and democracy, but provide an opportunity to support veterans for generations to come. For more information and resources about National Poppy Day click here. You can also read more about the poppy on our blog: the poppy-what’s it all about and six interesting facts about the poppy. […]
I am a lifetime member of ALA and have sold poppies since I was a Junior member. I am 76yrs old and travel frequently to Europe. In Germany and the Netherlands and other countries, I would often see the poppies, real and paper in different places especially in remote places that you wouldn’t think of seeing a poppy. In the Ardennes Forrest there were lots of poppies. It is a very humbling experience. Coming from a family with many military it mean a lot to me. I wish our young people of today could have some idea of the meaning and what so many have given up for us.
As a spouse of Master Sergeant serving in the Berlin Airlift, this is not only educational but inspiring! 🇺🇸 God Bless America🇺🇸
Awesome info! I made bookmarks with the 6 facts, our Unit tries to have fun, but educational materials to give kids at our poppy booths – bookmarks are the most favored, so we’ll definitely be using them Veterans Day. Thank you for the info.
Poppy pins are now available fromFlag & Emblem,I akready wear mine!Raemona Mae Clark,Largo Florida.Unit 119
Does your Post make and sell paper poppys. Need 1000.
We need to purchase some poppies, were do we order them from?
Hello! You can order poppies from Emblem Sales. For more information on poppies, download the poppy guide on the Poppy Program page at http://www.ALAforVeterans.org. Thank you for your continued support!
looking for instructions for crochet poppy that was in auxiliary magazine early 2018
Hello and thanks for reaching out. Is this the project you are referring to? This was found in the Feb. 2018 magazine. https://lsc-pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=468803&ver=html5&p=10
I am a life member of the American Legion Auxiliary. I don’t understand why today many of the American Legion Auxiliary today don’t have interests anymore about POPPY. It’s not easy anymore to get young people involve to volunteer do distribute POPPY on Memorial Day or on Veterans Day. Does this POPPY program still effective for the American Legion Auxiliary program?
IN FLANDERS FIELD THE POPPIES GROW BENEATH THE CROSSES ROW ON ROW AND IN THE SKY THE LARKS STILL BRAVELY SINGING FLY SCARCE HEARD AMID THE GUNS BELOW.
GONE ARE THE BRAVE SHORT DAYS AGO LOVED AND WERE LOVED AD NOW THEY LIE IN FLANDERS FIELD BENEATH THE CROSS’S ROW ON ROW. SORRY AM ALMOST 80 AND LEARNED THIS POEM IN 6TH GRADE IN BURLINGTON, IOWA. THERE IS MORE OF COURSE.
Ladies, I am looking for info on the design of the of paper poppies. What I know of think I know is; the red is for the blood shed, the black center for the lives lost, the green leaf is positioned at 11:00 for the 11 hour, 11 day, 11 month. Am I correct on my info? P!ease advise.