Red Poppies: The Remembrance Flower - History & Craft
You can honor the fallen this Memorial Day by wearing a red poppy, otherwise known as a Remembrance Poppy. Wearing a red poppy is seen as offering tribute to the fallen as well as the future of living veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families.
Despite being beautiful flowers, poppies are technically classified as weeds. They’re incredibly resilient, even growing in the most inhospitable landscapes — such as abandoned, desolate battlefields. The WWI battlefield landscapes were left devastated, but the emergence of red poppies in the early spring after the end of the war were seen as tiny beacons of hope.
Simple Red Poppy Memorial Day Craft Idea: You can have fun fashioning red poppies with your kids using coffee filters and red cupcake filters. Visit the Three Little Ferns blog for easy-to-follow instructions.
The poppy as a symbol of the remembrance of war casualties started with a poem inspired by these hearty poppies taking root in the desolate battlefields. In the spring of 1915, a Canadian artillery unit brigade surgeon named Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae saw bright red poppies blooming on the war-torn fields where so many WWI soldiers had lost their lives, and he was inspired to write “In Flanders Fields.”
"In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Two women were inspired by this poem, an American professor named Moina Michael and a Frenchwoman named Anna Guérin. They started campaigns to make the red poppy the official symbol of remembrance of war casualties. This movement gained traction in the United States when the National American Legion voted to use the poppy as the official U.S. national emblem of remembrance in 1920. Read more about the history of the Poppy and remembrance on History.Com.
More Memorial Day Crafts
Memorial Day Learning Links
Memorial Day (History for Kids) - Educational Videos for Students -- from Fresberg Cartoon, Weekly Educational Cartoons for Kids, YouTube Channel.
We hope these links to crafts & lessons are helpful to you in teaching your kids about the importance of Memorial Day. Happy Homeschooling, everyone!