In May 1915 Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian officer and poet, wrote a moving poem after he had buried one of his friends in Flanders during WWI – that poem was In Flanders Fields.
The poem was first published in December 1915, and soon became very popular. The poppies that John McCrae wrote about grew wild on the battlefield, between the bodies of the Fallen soldiers – a carpet of bright red colour amongst the devastation of war.
The poppy was first used as a symbol of Remembrance in 1920 in the USA. It was used by the American League to raise money for veterans of WWI.
In 1921 a French lady by the name of Madame Guerin heard about the poppies and she took the idea back to France to help raise money for the children in her country who had been affected by the war.
Later that year the red poppy was then adopted in Britain by veterans who sold them in Remembrance of their fallen friends. Proceeds went to assist the veterans with their recovery from the physical traumas they were suffering and to support them.
Over the years different colours of poppies have been adopted with different meanings
- Red – for Remembrance
- Purple – for the animals who died in war
- White – for all casualties, including civilians, and for Peace
- Black – conscientious objectors
Purchasing a poppy each year, from the proper organisations ensures that the proceeds go towards assisting veterans and their families. A small token of gratitude for the enormous job they do in defending our freedom……..