Memorial Day 2021 is only a few days away, and some individuals may find that they are offered a red poppy when they are shopping at their favorite convenience store or even when walking down the street. However, those same individuals may not know the significance of the red poppy and its association with the celebration of Memorial Day.
When the European region found its battlefields ravaged by the war, the red poppy was the only flower that could survive under the severe conditions that were created. The fact that this little flower was a fierce survivor did not go without notice by those living in the United States.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) embarked on a mission to create both paper, and silk poppy’s to be worn by those individuals wishing to remember and commemorate the loss of those who fought so bravely in World War I. The creation of the poppies was done by those service members and women who were needy and disabled, and as such was named the Buddy Poppy.
After seeing the fighting in World War I and the toll it took on the land, a Canadian serviceman named Colonel John McCrae found himself inspired to pen a poem about the fierce little flower that survived against all odds—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