Monday 11 November 2013

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Poppy

Here are ten things you may not know about the poppy, worn on Remembrance Day.

1.  One 19th Century writer remarked that the poppy seemed to sprout freely on the barren ground where battles were previously fought.

2.  In 1915, Lt.-Col. John McRae noticed that the blood-red flower was growing in a cemetery in Ypres where it had never previously grown.  Hence, he wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields".

3.  The bombing runs and rubble of World War I had caused the soil to become chalky, making it conducive to growing poppies.

4.  In 1918, New Yorker Moina Michael read "In Flanders Fields" and started wearing a poppy to commemorate all of the soldiers who died in World War I and other wars.

5.  Moina Michael's poppy was spotted by a French visitor who took the idea back to her home country and started selling poppies to raise money for poor children.

6.  In 1921, the poppy spread to Canada where it serves to remember our soldiers and raise money for them.

7.  While it is respectful to wear a poppy in the days leading up to Remembrance Day, one should not wear the symbol after November 11.  The poppy is supposed to be placed on the grave of a veteran or at the site of a ceremony dedicated to veterans.

8.  In 1980, Canada started selling poppies with a green centre to reflect the green of the battlfields.  However, in 2002 someone realized that poppies are really black in the centre and they reverted to the true colour.

9.  Poppies should be worn on the left lapel of a garment, close to the heart.

10.  During the Napoleonic Wars, the poppy bloomed on the graves of fallen soldiers.


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