The Poppy Lady

Having read and been moved by John McCrae’s touching poem,  In Flanders Field, an American professor and humanitarian from Good Hope, Georgia,  decided that she would wear a red poppy from that day on as a sign of remembrance.  To make note of her pledge, Moina Michael wrote these words on the back of a used envelope.  She became the impetus behind the silk poppies being sold to raise funds to assist disabled veterans,   after teaching a class of disabled vets at the University of Georgia and seeing their struggles.  Eventually, the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for war veterans.

WE SHALL KEEP THE FAITH

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.

Written by Moina Michael, November 1918

Moina Michael died in 1944.  Four years later, the US Post Office issued a commemorative  stamp honoring her lifetime achievements.

200px-00MoinaMichael

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6 thoughts on “The Poppy Lady

  1. Arkansas Patti

    I did not know that. I always buy one and wear it proudly, just did not know the story behind it. Thank you.

  2. Carol Too

    Thanks for tracking this down. As a child I remember buying these poppies. Does anyone do this anywhere in the US anymore?

  3. Small world!! Moina Michael is my husband’s great-grandfather’s aunt. There’s a bust of her in Atlanta’s capital building – he made a point to see it on our last visit to the city. When I showed him your post he broke out his copy of the book she wrote, “The Miracle Flower.”

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