I've been concentrating Remembrance Day as a Canadian formal stat
holiday, but it is also Armistice Day in the U.S. And, though most
Canadians don't seem to know this, ironically the poppy came to be
popularized by a U.S. lady. I only ever see it in Commonwealth
countries, but my father-in-law (who fought in the U.S. 17th Airborne in
the Battle of the Bulge, under command of the British 8th Army) once
told me that there are areas of the U.S. where the poppy is worn today.
We went shopping on Saturday and all the Royal Canadian Legionaires and
the Air Cadets were out with poppies, throughout the mall. About a third
of those in church yesterday were wearing one (we went to Callingwood
Park ward, instead of Spruce Grove ward, because our soon-to-be
four-year-old granddaughter was giving a talk in Sacrament there).
Here's the story, as contained in today's "Social Studies" column by
Poppy Day creator
In 1944, The New York Herald Tribune reported: "Miss Moina Michael, who
originated Poppy Day in 1918 as a memorial to the World War dead, died
[May 10] in a hospital after an illness of several months. She was 74
years old. Col. John McCrae's poem, "In Flanders Fields", gave Miss
Michael the inspiration for the annual poppy sales, which spread to many
nations...Miss Michael, a teacher, who was for 25 years on the
University of Georgia* faculty, first read Col. McCrae's poem two days
before the armistice in 1918. It touched her so deeply that she resolved
to wear a poppy as a pledge toward fulfillment of Col. McCrae's ideals."
In 1919, the newspaper adds, Miss Michael's poppy-wearing campaign
proceeded informally, but in 1920 the plan was adopted by the national
convention of the American Legion.zion-l
*Ironically the post I gave a few days ago, with a link to the poem, was
to a site at Emory University's English dept., which is also in Georgia.
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he
will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.
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