#SOL15: The Origin of Red Poppies and Poems for Memorial Day

“We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.”

Moina Micheals, inspired by “In Flanders Field,” made and sold poppies for remembrance and later even earned a place on the 3 cent stamp. (Wow, 3 cents!) Are poppies still available in your community? (For more Memorial Day Information see this site.)

What are the rituals that still exist to support and honor those who gave their lives in service for your daily freedoms?

Memorial Day Concert Taps Visit to a Cemetary Placing Flags on Graves Parade Patriotic Music Silent Thanks Buying Poppies

What is Memorial Day About?

It’s about the 625,000 Americans killed in the Civil War. The 116,000 Americans killed in WWI. The 405,000 Americans killed in WWII. The 36,000 Americans killed in the Korean War. The 58,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War. The 2,200 Americans killed in the Afghanistan War. The 4,500 Americans killed in the Iraq war. And all the Americans killed in other wars.From The Poem Farm and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater – Amy’s eloquence is crystal clear in these two poems.  Check out the Poem Farm for other poems!


memorial day

Last year, my Memorial Day post asked,

Memorial Day: A Day Off or a Day to Celebrate Heroes?

You can check out the link that is in that title! What’s your view?


Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work.  So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!


18 responses

  1. The numbers are STAGGERING.

    My family and I attended the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol last night. My daughter could tell I was sad listening to all of the stories since she kept hugging me and telling me to smile. (She’s a little too young to understand what our soldiers and their families have sacrifice for her freedom. However, she’ll come to understand it some day.)

    1. Stacey,
      I love watching the concert on PBS. What a treat to be there to see and hear it live! Your daughter’s empathy is incredible and yes, some day she will understand!

  2. So many lives lost. Thank you for sharing Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poems. They beautifully reflect the solemnity of this day. Both my father and my nephew were in the military during times of war. I am thankful they both returned, and I am grateful that there are men and women willing to risk their lives for our country. Those who make the ultimate sacrifice should always be honored.

    1. Amy’s poems are such masterpieces. It was great to hear her in person at NCTE 14.

      Amanda, yes, so many lives cut short that do deserve to be honored!

  3. sallydonnelly11 | Reply

    Sadly, my Memorial Day weekend was spent sorting student work, reading 80 memoirs and writing 80 report card comments. Thanks for giving me a chance to stop this morning and think about why I didn’t go to my school yesterday. And thanks for reminding me that I need to check out Amy. I love the poems by her that you shared. Good luck with your PD this week!

    1. Sally,
      So glad that you had the time to read your memoirs and write report card comments. You will love the Poem Farm!

      Have a great week!

  4. Thank you for this. I watched the Memorial Day Concert and put a patriotic flag on a grave this weekend…

    1. It was a great concert. I also made it to two cemetaries for flags.

  5. Thank you for the beautifully crafted reminder of the importance of celebrating the lives given to insure our freedoms.

    1. Thanks for comenting, Haddon!
      I loved what I wrote last year so I really “fretted” about how to add on so Amy’s poems were the perfect addition!

  6. Reading your post was one of the best things I did on Memorial Day. Your reflection, the statistics (oh my), and Amy’s poems are great reminders and tributes we need to acknowledge. I’m sharing this post with my class this morning.

    1. What an honor to be a part of your class this morning! Thanks, Julieanne!

      The statistics are staggering and are so much more than numbers when you “know” any of the individuals!

  7. Every year Kathy and I watch the concert on PBS. The stories serve to remind us how much so many men and women have sacrificed so that we can enjoy the freedom we have. May we never forget and pause a moment each day to give thanks to those who have gives so much for us.

    1. Oh, I love this! . . . pause a minute each day – that seems like the very least that I can find time to do! Thanks for thinking of a doable “one minute” and then how that time will add up when distributed over a year!

      Shear genius! Thanks!

  8. I always used to buy poppies from veterans when I saw them, but I haven’t seen any in a long time. I am part of a singing group, and we sang several songs at our town’s Memorial Day ceremony yesterday. It was a wonderful way to honor our war heroes.

    1. Catherine,
      Sometimes “rules” have unexpected outcomes. Our VFW can no longer “stop traffic” to sell poppies. Have to “know” them in order to find them now .

      How fun to be a part of a singing group! What a great ceremony that would have been!

      Thanks for commenting!

  9. Fran, at the end of the holiday weekend, I love reflecting on what Memorial brought to me. Thank you for sharing the statistics and Amy’s poems. I missed those at her blog site so thank you for showcasing them.

    1. Thanks, Carol, for stopping by and commenting. It’s often hard to stay “caught up” on reading during holiday weekends so I was very happy to see Amy’s poems! There’s so much quality writing available courtesy of our connections! What an exciting time to be an educator!!!

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