Memorial Day brings poppies
A Memorial Day custom that also involves decorating, although not the decorating of graves, is the wearing of poppies. And that custom began in 1915 when Moina Michael read “In Flanders Fields”. She was inspired by this poem, and wrote one of her own, which suggested that the poppies growing in Flanders Fields represented the eternal “blood of heroes”, shed for freedom.
Moina thought it would be appropriate to wear the red poppies on Memorial Day, so she sold some to her friends and co-workers, and donated the money to needy servicemen. This idea of selling poppies to benefit people who suffered from the effects of war caught on, especially with a Madam Guerin, who was visiting the U.S. from France.
Madam Guerin went back home and made artificial red poppies, which she sold and, similar to Moina, donated the money to needy people. Other countries soon adopted the practice of selling poppies. Then, in 1922, she took the idea to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), who took up the job of selling poppies to help commemorate Memorial Day.
The VFW took this opportunity to expand the poppy program. They got disabled veterans to make artificial poppies, sold them, and used the proceeds to benefit the veterans. This is another way you can thank those who fought for your freedom in a war. Buy a poppy for Memorial Day.