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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Farley

Honoring Memorial Day: The Symbolism of the Poppy

As we approach Memorial Day, a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, it’s important to reflect on the symbols that help us commemorate this solemn day. At An Empty Vase, we find profound meaning in one such symbol: the poppy.


The History of the Poppy


The poppy's connection to Memorial Day dates back to World War I. The fields of Flanders in Belgium, ravaged by war, surprisingly saw the resilient growth of bright red poppies. Inspired by these blooms, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, penned the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” His words captured the enduring spirit of the fallen soldiers and the poignant beauty of the poppies that grew amidst the graves of the war dead.


After World War I, the poppy became a symbol of remembrance and hope. This was largely thanks to the efforts of Moina Michael, an American professor and humanitarian. Deeply moved by McCrae’s poem, she vowed to always wear a red poppy to honor the soldiers who fought and died. She also campaigned to make the poppy a national symbol of remembrance. Her dedication led to the adoption of the poppy by the American Legion in 1920, and it has since become an enduring symbol of Memorial Day.


The Meaning Behind the Poppy


The poppy represents more than just remembrance; it embodies resilience, hope, and renewal. Its ability to bloom in the most devastated landscapes reminds us that life and beauty can emerge from even the darkest times. Each petal represents a story of bravery and sacrifice, a silent tribute to the countless soldiers who gave their all for our freedoms.


Honoring Memorial Day with An Empty Vase


At An Empty Vase, we embrace the tradition of the poppy with reverence and care. This Memorial Day, consider incorporating poppies into your commemorations to honor the fallen. Whether through a simple poppy pin, a bouquet featuring these striking flowers, or a visit to a memorial adorned with poppy wreaths, each gesture is a tribute to those who have given everything for our nation. (As always, check with your local florist for availability and price of poppies.)


As we gather to remember and honor the heroes of our nation this Memorial Day, let the poppy be a symbol of our gratitude and respect. At An Empty Vase, we are here to help you express these sentiments through our thoughtfully crafted floral arrangements. Let us stand together in remembrance, honoring the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

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