WHY IS THE POPPY A SYMBOL OF MEMORIAL DAY?
In the war-torn battlefields of Europe, the common red field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to reappear. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground was disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting of WW1. John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, witnessed the war first hand and was inspired to write the now-famous poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915. He saw the poppies scattered throughout the battlefield surrounding his artillery position in Belgium.