Branch 23
Significancy of the Poppy

                                                                        For over 90 years, the Poppy has been a symbol of honour and ultimate sacrifice, inspired by Lieutenant-Colonel John
                                                                        McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields, written in May 1915.

                                                                        In Canada, the Poppy has stood as a visual symbol of our Remembrance since 1921. However, its presence over the graves
                                                                        of soldiers, and in the fields of honour, was noted as early as the 19th century after the Napoleonic Wars. The reason for its
                                                                        adoption over 100 years later in Canada was due to, in no small part, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae and his now famous
                                                                        poem, “In Flanders Fields”.

                                                                        This poem, written in May, 1915 on the day following the death of a fellow soldier, would serve as inspiration three years
                                                                        later for an American teacher, Moina Michael, who made a personal pledge after reading the poem to always wear a
                                                                        Poppy as a sign of Remembrance. In 1920, during a visit to the United States, a French woman, Madame Guerin, learned
                                                                        of the custom and decided to sell handmade Poppies to raise money for the children in war-torn areas of the country.
                                                                        Following her example, the Poppy was officially adopted by the Great War Veteran’s Association in Canada (our
                                                                        predecessor) as its Flower of Remembrance on July 5, 1921.

                                                                                                                          Today we encourage all Canadians to proudly wear a Poppy.

                                                                                                                                                        IN FLANDERS FIELDS

                                                                                                                                     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.

                                                                                                                                               3 May 1915   John McCrae
                                                                                                                           (As published in Punch Magazine, 8 December 1915)