Friday, 11 November 2011

The Significance of the Poppy Flower

Today is Veteran's Day in the United States. In the UK and most Commonwealth countries, it is known as Remembrance Day, and the red poppy flower is its symbol. I don't remember having seen the red poppy flower during this time in the states, so when I read the BBC article that in America the phase of wearing the little red flower is dying out, I was disappointed. I have come to really love that flower and since finding the book, "A Poppy is to Remember" by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn, I now know the whole story behind this little flower.

Dr. John McCrae of Ontario, Canada wrote this famous poem while taking a break from helping the wounded after hearing of the death of a close friend.


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 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.

Several years ago my family had the privilege to visit the place where this amazing poem was written in Ypres, Belgium.

It was an American named Moina Belle Michaels, in 1918, who decided to make the red poppy flower a symbol of tribute and support for WWI veterans after reading the John McCrae's poem.

I think because we have visited the WWI museum in Belguim (and the WWI museum in Kansas City, MO) my daughter and I have always had a special love of red poppy flowers and I have always wanted to find out how they became a national symbol for WWI. Here in England, the selling of the red poppy flower can be found in front of almost every super market. Every year my family buy poppy flowers and wear it on Nov 11th.

I am honored to have been nominated in the Best field trip/Nature blog for HSBA. If you would like to vote for Life's adventure go to this link . There are many other blogs nominated in over 20 different categories so lots of choices. In addition the No Ordinary Blog Hop has been honored with a nomination for best family/Group blog. I have been blessed to be apart of this fantastic group of ladies. Again you can vote at the above link.

Check out these great monthly hops


  1. I haven't been out shopping yet this morning, but I know last year the Vetrans were out taking donations on Vetrans day and some were handing out poppy flowers and then some were handing out the metal canes. I'd prefer to get the flower as a reminder. thanks for sharing the poem.

    Following you from the NOBH.

    Regina, The Crazy Nuts Mom

  2. I learn something new every day! I had no idea about the poppy flower on Veterans Day :) Great poem and post! :) Clicked a vote on the fence for you and of course for HSBA :)

  3. I had no idea about poppy flowers being a flower of remembrance like that! I've heard the poem, but never even thought about it. I find it to be such an odd contrast of images in my mind though. Since poppies are the state flower of California, where I grew up, I associate poppies with deserts, not Europe. Of course, here, in Washington, there are tons of red poppies along side the roads. There didn't used to be and now I am wondering if someone planted them in remembrance....