Remembrance: A Georgian, A Canadian and Red Poppies


Red poppies on Memorial Day

Since World War I, poppies have been a symbol of remembrance at Memorial Day. The red poppy was used to symbolize the blood of those who died in service to their countries.


The idea started in 1918 when Moina Michael, a professor and humanitarian from Good Hope, Georgia, read the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian John McCrae in 1915 during World War I.


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.


Moina began wearing poppies in memoriam and sold them to others, using the proceeds to help veterans. After World War I, veterans sold artificial red poppies to help raise money for war orphans. Today, donations to veterans’ groups are often marked with a token paper red poppy. 'Poppy Lady' for her humanitarian efforts, Moina received numerous awards during her lifetime. In 1948, four years after her death, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring her life’s achievement. In 1969, the Georgia General Assembly named a section of U.S. Highway 78 the Moina Michael Highway.


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