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Remembrance Day: 5 facts about the poppy

By: Guest Blogger
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Remembrance Day: 5 facts about the poppy

By: Guest Blogger
462481071 Every year, from the last Friday in October until the end of the Remembrance Day ceremony, people across the world wear poppies pinned on their left lapel, close to their heart. We wear the poppies to show that we remember. The poppy is the Flower of Remembrance in Canada and internationally poppies are "the symbol of collective reminiscence." In honour of Remembrance Day, here are five facts about the poppy. 1. Why poppies grow around graves Poppies flourish in disturbed earth, which makes battlefields a fertile place for poppies to grow. The Battlefields and graveyards in Belgium and Germany were full of debris and rubble from the war. The lime in the rubble enriched the soil and helped the poppies grow. 2. How the Poppy became associated with Remembrance Day Canadians have been wearing poppies since 1921, but the poppy has been a symbol of honour since it grew around the graves of soldiers after the Napoleonic Wars. There are three people who are associated with creating The Poppy Campaign: John McCrae, Moina Michael and Anne Guerin. John McCrae famously wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields" in 1915 after presiding over the funeral of a fellow soldier. He noted how the poppies quickly grew around the fresh graves.

Flanders fields the poppies blow       Between the crosses, row on row

Three years later in New York, Moina Michael read "In Flanders Fields" and pledged that she would wear a red poppy as a way of  "keeping the faith with all who died." Moina actually began making silk red poppies. Anne Guerin brought some of those handmade poppies back to London. In 1921, The British Legion ordered the poppies to be sold on Remembrance Day and the first Poppy Appeal was born. 3. Why the centre changed from green to black The centre of the poppy is actually black. And the original poppies sold in the Poppy Campaign had a black centre. But in the 1980s, the Canadian Legion decided to make the centres green to mark "the green fields of France." Eventually, the Legion decided to go back to black to represent how poppies actually look. 4. Don't pin your poppy with a Canadian Flag It is not uncommon to either lose your poppy or poke yourself with your poppy needle. To prevent this many people will secure their poppy with a pin, usually one with a Canadian flag. But the Royal Canadian Legion says it is disrespectful to deface the poppy. So do not wear your poppy with any other pin, just use the one it came with. You can keep your poppy in place by putting an earring backing on the end of the needle. 5. What does the Poppy Campaign do with the money raised? The Poppy Campaign makes about $14 million each year and the money is donated to help veterans and their families. The money helps support veterans in many different ways. It can help those in financial need. It also provides medical resources to veterans, whether that be buying medical equipment, providing at home services or funding for long-term care facilities. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
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Remembrance Day: 5 facts about the poppy

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