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.