Remember the Poppies and Those Who Served
Join us this Memorial Day as we remember, honor, and teach.

Remember the Poppies and Those Who Served

The desire to serve, succeed, remember, and honor others motivated a battlefield surgeon following World War I to pen the poem “In Flanders Field.” The poem was inspired by a cluster of red poppies, considered a weed, blossoming on a warm spring day from soil that had been contaminated following Germany’s first use of chlorine gas in chemical warfare. Lt Colonel Dr. John McCrae’s poem would be published and read worldwide. The now-famous literature has become a work of art that has been recreated and interpreted in print, song, dance, and prose as a powerful form of remembrance. 


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.


Just a few days before the Armistice Day that brought the fighting to an end, Moina Michael read “In Flanders Field” in a popular women’s magazine of the time. That resilient red flower and the image of the fallen who served valiantly compelled her to make and sell fabric poppies to raise money to support the war veterans who would be returning home. 

In 1920, the American Legion picked up the poppy distribution on the Friday before Memorial Day, as a national symbol of remembrance.

The standards-based Wreaths Across America curriculum offers educators FREE lesson plan downloads about Poppy Day and Memorial Day. The lesson plans are perfect for teachers, homeschooling parents, daycare providers, or grandparents looking for projects involving kids.

Join us this Memorial Day as we remember, honor, and teach.