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 dries.
Have you ever been curious as to why you see veterans asking for donations and rewarding your generosity with a handmade poppy flower? In honor of Memorial Day (which falls on the 30th of this month), we decided to delve into the reason behind why this flower symbolizes the memory of our fearlessly selfless, fallen soldiers.
The poppy was first chosen as The American Legion's memorial flower at the 1921 National Convention and was worn in memory of the men who lost their lives in World War I. Picture vast armies on two sides in a long four year battle, along a double line of trenches. This was Europe from 1914 to November 11, 1918. In this area of death and destruction, hundreds of thousands of American boys advanced in 1917 and 1918 determined to put an end to the horrible war. You all know the story of how they did end the war, restoring peace and liberty to subjected peoples. But, many thousands of fine young lives were required to complete the task.
The one bright color on the battle torn fields and hills of these areas was the little, red poppy. On the edges of the trenches, in the ragged shell holes, brave little poppies grew and bloomed on the graves of those men buried in the sacred plots of French soil, which was Flanders Field. Remembrances of the cheery bright red flowers returned to America with our boys. And so, the poppy became the symbol of those heroes lost, their memorial flower. It became the sign that the high ideals for which these brave young men gave their lives, still live, and are honored.
Soon a double significance was attached to the memorial poppy. Disabled veterans quickly learned to assemble poppies while growing well again. The American Legion and Auxiliary are united in efforts to help those hospitalized veterans. Through the winter months, cut materials are delivered to these veterans and soon boxes of bright red poppies are ready for a big distribution in May. And when payday arrives, what a thrill to receive their pay for a job well done! And what a joy it is to wear a poppy made by a disabled veteran, when you know the money it brought him filled a desperate need.
So each year, prior to Memorial Day, millions of Americans wear little red poppies in memory of those who have died in all wars and to assist in the rehabilitation of those veterans who are now hospitalized suffering from wounds and illness.
Now you know the story behind the red poppies you see around Memorial and Veteran's Day, millions of which are distributed by unpaid, volunteer workers on these days.