The Poppy Story
From the battlefields of World War I, weary soldiers
brought home the memory of a barren landscape
transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had
soaked the soil. By that miracle of nature, the spirit of
their lost comrades lived on. The poppy became a
symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war and represented the
hope that none had died in vain. The American Legion Auxiliary Poppy has continued to bloom for the casualties of four wars, its petals of paper bound together for veterans by veterans, reminding America each year that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserve to be remembered. Poppy Day has become a familiar tradition in almost every American community. This distribution of the bright red memorial flower to the public is one of the oldest and most widely recognized programs of the American Legion Auxiliary. This poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, can be traced to a single individual, Miss Moina Michael. She was so moved by Lt. Col. McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields, that she wrote a response: ". . . the blood of heroes never dies but lends a luster to the red of the flower that blooms above the dead in Flanders Fields". On impulse, she bought a bouquet of poppies – all that New York City's Wanamaker's Department Store had – and handed them to businessmen meeting at the New York YMCA where she worked. She asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen. That was November 1918. World War I was over, but America's sons would rest forever in Flanders Fields. Later she would spearhead a campaign that would result in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.
In Flanders Fields
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.
Lt. Col. John McCrae
The American Legion SantiamPost #51
Honors the unkown defenders of our country
December Issue 2010 President Message
My vacation has ended and I am very glad to be home. The visit to Flanders Fields and the museum in Leper, Belgium was a wonderful experience. The people of Belgium have continued to honor all the many veterans who lost their lives there. They even buried the German men and keep their graves beautiful too. They make poppy wreaths and place them on the monuments in the cemeteries and also place small poppy cards on graves. Names of those killed were chiseled into the walls around the cities and on monuments in city parks. They truly honor the sacrifice of lives given to keep them free. Visiting the grave of John McCrae was very special. The tour guide always has someone read his poem,
“In Flanders Fields”.
I was very honored that he allowed me to read it.
Unit President Santiam Post #51 2010
While putting together this page for our new web-site I ran across this article from a Past Presidents Examiner report from Dec. 2010 and thought how fitting a place to be in this permanent poppy post. But after going thru hundred of pictures and articles about the "poppy" and "Flanders Field". the article started to grow out of hand, and I couldn't find a place to stop.I could have made this page twice as long, "But not to fear" I do have many more articles and pictures I'll save for a later time, But what. I did find was a much deeper understanding of what Flanders Field and our Poppy, means to me, and so many people thru-out the world, And It has a much more significant meaning when you have a loved one or someone elses loved one who has given their all for our freedom.
How much of a reminder do we need?
Support our Post Auxiliary. Buy a Poppy and support our Vetrans