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On May 5th, 1868, General John Logan issued General Order Number 11 officially proclaiming Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, and became a national holiday through the National Holiday Act of 1971. It was once meant to commemorate the lost soldiers of the Civil War but grew to encompass all those who gave “the last full measure of devotion.”
Today I wanted to share some of the traditions to honor those fallen soldiers, starting with the most famous war poem from World War I.
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In Flanders FieldsJohn McCrae, 1915In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on rowThat mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.
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Moina MichaelIn response to John McCrae’s poem, Moina pledged to Keep the Faith and began the tradition of wearing red poppies as a remembrance emblem.
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Madame GuerinMadame Guerin brought the custom back to her native France and sold artificial poppies to support war orphans and widows.
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Veterans of Foreign WarsAfter the Franco-American Children’s League disbanded in 1921, the VFW picked up the baton and sold poppies nationally. This was the first time a veteran’s organization expanded to a nationwide distribution.
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VFW and the “Buddy Poppy”The term “Buddy Poppy” was registered and trademarked in 1924; the intent was to reserve the assembly of the Buddy Poppies for disabled and needy veterans to provide an income for the veterans, maintain rehabilitation and service programs, and provide some support for the war orphans and widows.
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USPSMoina Michael was acknowledged as the founder of the Red Poppy Movement when the Post Office issued a 3 cent stamp with her likeness in 1948.
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As always, thanks to everyone for reading and contributing to the Carnival!