Memorial Day-Show your Gratitude with a Poppy!!
HI Friends, Memorial Day is here and while we are getting the grill out for gatherings with family and friends, let’s remember those fallen soldiers and their families who have given their lives for the freedoms we are so blessed to have. The commitment, bravery and fear they must have felt while putting their country above themselves is the true time-honored definition of a hero!
Upon digging deeper into Memorial Day, I found a beautiful story about a Canadian doctor John McCrae, who surrounded by so much loss of life, laid one of his good friends to rest as there was no Chaplin available. Next to the cross, he saw poppies growing and remembered the fields of poppies where so many soldiers had lost their lives in battle which inspired him to write a poem to honor them. Before World War I, red poppies thrived in wildflower fields across Europe. Sadly, these fields became the scenes of some of the war’s fiercest battles including the ones where the Germans released lethal chlorine gas for the first time in the war.
Once the fighting ceased, poppy seeds that had lain dormant sprouted forming incredible fields of red blooms. The red poppy came to represent the blood shed during the war and a symbol of remembrance for those who were killed fighting for their country. John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” remains one of the most memorable war poems written and has spurred so many programs which help brave soldiers even today.
Reading “In Flanders Field” in the Ladies’ Home Journal Monia Michael a professor at the University of Georgia was inspired and wrote a poem of her own called “We Shall Keep Faith”. Monia found some poppy blooms at a department store and distributed them to her friends and colleagues to wear as a constant reminder of the sacrifices so many people had made.
After the war ended, she came up with the idea of making and selling red silk poppies to raise money to support returning veterans. She made such an impact for so many a stamp was created in her honor!
Another selfless lady was instrumental in getting the British Legion to adopt the power of the poppy! Anna Guérin, a teacher from France came to Britten in 1911 with her two daughters. When the First World War broke out, she moved to the United States and began fundraising for those made destitute by war. She worked with woman’s groups knowing the many war widows would champion the cause and work tirelessly. The American Legion named the red poppy its official flower at the organization’s second national convention and since have distributed 10’s of millions poppies to raise money for disabled veterans and their children.
The Legion decided to have additional poppies manufactured in Britain and commissioned eight million. Later the British Legion opened The Poppy Factory to manufacture poppies the following year, a tradition which still continues. They now have all sorts of poppies for sale to support the cause.
Set a poppy themed table!
I am definitely going to start incorporating the poppy in my Memorial Day traditions. Vietre one of my favorite dishware companies has a lovely Poppy set!!
If poppies are not in season in your neck of the woods these lovely silk flowers from Amazon will do and look great with the red, white and blue themed table!!!
Guest towels anyone? Leftovers would be perfect for the 4th of July or even Valentine’s or Mother’s Day!
You know how I am all about pink! Mrs. Alice has her own version of the poppy with her Poppy Chinoiserie Starter Plate. If you are dishware obsessed like me- check out her things- some beautiful options on her site.
Get your kids involved!
What better way to teach your kids the true meaning of Memorial Day than get them involved in fun activities centered around the poppy!
With photos, memorabilia, and anecdotes, Linda Granfield brings us face-to-face with people from all walks of life who risked everything for their country. What a wonderful educational book for the entire family!
There are so many fun recipes using the poppy’s flavorful seeds! From salad dressings to lemon cake, select together and let them contribute to story they can help tell at your Memorial Day celebration!!
Make your own poppy remembrance rendition with this kid’s craft from Laughing Kids Learn! These can be inserted in the napkins or put on the plate for a festive tablescape or use to decorate your appetizer trays!
And what kid doesn’t love to plant in the garden and then watch as the plants bud and grow!! Just pick a place in your yard in a sunny location! Lots of instructions on the internet depending on where you live-in Texas read up here!
Let’s continue a tradition by remembering and honoring the brave people that gave their lives for our country with a poppy. Have a wonderful week! Till next time-xo Leslie