This coming weekend, you will find many New Canaan War Veterans distributing poppies to honor the ultimate sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Members of our local Veterans of Foreign War Post 653 will provide poppies at several locations. Many Americans overlook the history and significance of the poppy.
Poppies have a long history of honoring the dead in both Greek and Roman mythology. However, the significance of the poppy in honoring our nation’s war dead is traced to World War I. Once the war ended, Marines and soldiers brought home the memory of a war-ravaged landscape transformed by wild red poppies, which were as red as the blood shed by the hundreds of thousands of American casualties. Subsequently, the poppy became a symbol of both sacrifice and hope.
The poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, is credited to a single individual, Moina Michael. In 1918, shortly after the end of World War I, Mrs. Michael was so inspired by Lt. Col. John 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.”
Mrs. Michael asked all Americans to wear the poppy as a tribute to fallen war veterans. After that, she led an effort that designated the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.
The paper poppy which symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice of our nation’s veterans is made for veterans by veterans. Wearing a poppy reminds all Americans of those who have served and died for our great country. Learn more about the poppy here. Please wear a poppy this Memorial Day to honor our war dead buried in Lakeview Cemetery.
After the parade, please say a prayer or spend a few quiet moments to remember the grave sacrifice many New Canaan veterans have made while fighting for the freedom that we all cherish.
We must never forget the sacrifice of our fallen veterans.
Member, Post 653, New Canaan VFW