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The Story of the Red Poppy

The Story of the Red Poppy - Veterans Day, November 11

By Don Drake, Connelly Law Offices, Ltd.

Special Needs Trust Rhode Island
Attorney RJ Connelly III

"Veteran's Day is next Saturday, meaning we will be observing this very special holiday on Friday, November 10," said professional fiduciary and certified elder law Attorney RJ Connelly III. "Originally established as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I, the United States Congress passed a resolution to observe this day of remembrance annually in 1926, and in 1938, it was declared a national holiday. Unlike Memorial Day, which is dedicated to the memory of those who have died in service, Veteran's Day is a day to honor all living and deceased American veterans who have served in times of war or peace."


One of the most recognized symbols of Veteran's Day is the red poppy. You might see veterans stationed outside of malls, grocery stores, or in parks collecting donations for American Legion Chapters that provide important services to veterans and their families. For a small donation, you will receive a red poppy, which you can place in your car or pocket as a sign of respect for the sacrifices made by our veterans.


"The American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program has been working since 1921 to connect the visual image of the red poppy with the sacrifices made by our veterans," stated Attorney Connelly. "During Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, millions of red crepe poppies, made by disabled American veterans as part of their rehabilitation process, are distributed in exchange for donations that directly support disabled and hospitalized veterans across the country."


Why the Red Poppy is a Symbol

After the second Battle of Ypres in World War I, Lt. Colonel John McCrea wrote a poem called “In Flanders Field”. This poem popularized the red poppy as a symbol of our fallen military heroes. The poet described the thousands of crosses laid out at the site where so many soldiers died for their countries. The red poppy grew among these crosses, a resilient flower that could remain dormant for years and then reappear in vast numbers in fields that appeared barren just years before.

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"For Lt. Col. McCrea, the poppy signified the bravery of military heroes who would also appear in vast numbers to help and fight alongside their comrades against the oppression and tyranny of the enemy during the war, and then they, too, would disappear, and remain dormant until the call came again," said Attorney Connelly.


In 1918, a humanitarian named Moina Michael authored a poem as a tribute to McCrea’s account of the deaths on Flanders Field. As a result, the poppy became the official symbol for the remembrance of those who served.


Moina was moved by the last stanza of McCrea's work and wrote in her memoirs, “This was, for me, a full spiritual experience. The silent voices again were vocal, whispering, in sighs of anxiety unto anguish...I pledged to KEEP THE FAITH and always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and the emblem of ‘keeping the faith with all who died.’”


The Red Poppy Today

Today, the American Legion continues this tradition by using the poppy as a way of thanking those who donate and support the needs of our disabled veterans. The funds raised by distributing poppies are used to aid and support veterans and their families. This small flower serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country.


"The next time we donate to help disabled veterans and someone hands us a paper red poppy, let us give it the respect it deserves," said Attorney Connelly. "Before discarding it, let us remember that a disabled veteran made it as part of their battle to recover from an injury incurred while serving America. Let us also reflect on what this simple flower symbolizes and the millions of Americans who have served and continue to serve this country so that we may enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we often take for granted. So, let us remember and honor them on November 11 and every day. They are, indeed, the best of America."

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Please note that the information provided in this blog is not intended and should not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice. The content, materials, and information presented in this blog are solely for general informational purposes and may not be the most up-to-date information available regarding legal, financial, or medical matters. This blog may also contain links to other third-party websites that are included for the convenience of the reader or user. Please note that Connelly Law Offices, Ltd. does not necessarily recommend or endorse the contents of such third-party sites. If you have any particular legal matters, financial concerns, or medical issues, we strongly advise that you consult your attorney, professional fiduciary advisor, or medical provider for advice.


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