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The Poppy Lady

The Poppy Lady tells the true story of how Moina Belle Michael, a Georgia schoolteacher who worked to establish the red poppy as a symbol for soldiers all over the world. When Americans entered World War I in 1917, Moina devoted herself to helping the soldiers by knitting socks and sweaters, rolling bandages for the Red Cross, and eventually setting up an area for soldiers to congregate before leaving for war.

One day, she saw a copy of the John McRae poem “In Flanders Field,” with it’s evocative imagery of fields of poppies growing on the graves of fallen soldiers in France and Belgium. Moina purchased two dozen red silk poppy flowers, keeping one for herself and giving the rest to soldiers on their way overseas to war.

Two days after Moina bought those first poppies, World War I officially ended, but Moina continued to advocate for poppies as a remembrance of fallen soldiers but also to raise money to help the veterans who returned and the families of those who didn’t.

Today, the red poppy is still the most widely recognized symbols of fallen soldiers, and is especially prominent on Memorial Day, when they are still sold to raise money for veterans’ services.

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