In 1915 Lt. Col. John McCrae M.D. wrote the poem In Flanders Fields that begins:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row.
Moina Michael followed with her own poem:
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 dies.
The VFW began conducting sales of the “Buddy Poppy” in the 1920’s.
Poppies growing in Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders Fields, Belgium.
The memorial poppies, first promoted by Monia Michael, were real flowers. It wasn’t long before silk flowers were used.
The poppies are now made by disabled veterans as part of their rehabilitation.
In 1948 the US Post Office honored Monia Michael, a university professor and humanitarian, for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp showing her likeness.