Poppies for Veteran’s Day


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Student members at the Willard Hope Center created poppies for their Veteran’s Day Dinner.

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After listening and learning about the tradition of poppies for Veteran’s Day, everyone learned how to make poppies out of tissue paper and flexi-sticks.

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The remembrance poppy has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war.

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Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields“, they were first used by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers who died in that war (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans‘ groups in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Today, they are mainly used in the UK and Canada to commemorate their servicemen and women who have been killed in all conflicts since 1914.

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The small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing for a few weeks before Veterans Day/ Remembrance Day/Armistice Day (11 November).

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The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields“. Its opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies parts of Belgium and France.

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The poem was written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on 3 May 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend, a fellow soldier, the day before. The poem was first published on 8 December 1915 in the London-based magazine Punch.

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In 1918, American YWCA worker Moina Michael, inspired by the poem, published a poem of her own called “We Shall Keep the Faith“.  In tribute to McCrae’s poem, she vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war.

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At a November 1918 YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference, she appeared with a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed 25 more to those attending.  She then campaigned to have the poppy adopted as a national symbol of remembrance.

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At a conference in 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance.  At this conference, Frenchwoman Anna E. Guérin was inspired to introduce the artificial poppies commonly used today.

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Students were made aware of this symbol that has somewhat been forgotten, and they have had the opportunity to remember those have fought and died for our freedom through making poppies and participating in a Veteran’s Day Dinner at the Hope Center.

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In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

 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.

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