Poppies For Memorial Day


English: 1948 U.S. postage stamp honoring Moin...

English: 1948 U.S. postage stamp honoring Moina Michael (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

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