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Here's Why We Wear a Red Poppy in Remembrance

It's all thanks to a woman who was dedicated to her cause.

red silk remembrance poppy on blue striped towel
Photography by: Alexandra Churchill

Many of us are familiar with the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, written in 1915. While the poem was written to depict Flanders Fields, in relation to the first World War, we also associate it with red poppies, which we proudly wear on in remembrance of the brave men and women who died fighting for our country. Many of us were taught about this poem in school, but what about the woman who dedicated two years of her life advocating for the poppy to become the national emblem of Remembrance?

 

For that, we can thank Moina Michael, "the Poppy Lady," who in November of 1918, started advocating for the red poppy after reading John McCrae's now famous poem. She was so touched by the writing that she started a campaign to establish the poppy as a national memorial symbol. After campaigning for what seemed like forever, the American Legion adopted the Memorial Poppy to be worn by its members in August of 1920. A month later, the National American Legion met and agreed on the use of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy as the United States' national emblem of Remembrance. 

 

[TRY IT: Learn How to Make Your Own Red Silk Poppy]

So there you have it: the story of how the memorial poppy came to be and the woman who made it all happen. While poppies are distributed every year with donations from them going to assist active-duty military, veterans, and their families — you can also make your very own silk poppy, following our simple tutorial.

 

Feeling inspired? Watch how to sew a fabric flower: