In 1915 Moina Michael, who was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, replied with her own poem “We Shall Keep the Faith” and conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those killed while in military service. She wore the first one and sold them to friends and co-workers and gave the money to servicemen in need. The tradition spread to many other countries. In 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell poppies nationally and the poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was instituted and the artificial poppies were made by disabled and needy veterans who were paid for their work in order to provide them with financial assistance. To this day, “Buddy” Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans. In 1948, Moina Michael was honored with a three cent U.S. postage stamp for her role in starting the National Poppy movement.
“BE KIND, BE BRAVE AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED”
Our Blessing Bands from Mindfully Made Studios, a Pennsylvania company, feature a Mantra or focus word and a related inspirational passage on the interior. They are colorful reminders to live with peace, presence and purpose. Mindfully Made Studios gives a portion of every sale to help US foster children find safe and permanent homes.
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
By Moina Michael,1918