The poppy is a widely recognized symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers that many choose to wear in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.
We were intrigued to find records in our archive that document how the poppy became a universally accepted memorial flower and how it started to bloom on the lapels of Canadians.
The use of the flower as a memorial has roots in John McCrae's 1915 poem In Flanders Fields. An American teacher by the name of Moina Michael read McCrae's poem and pledged to always wear a poppy as a sign of remembrance. In 1919, Madame Anna A. Guerin (nee Boulle) happened to meet Michael while touring the States, and was inspired to circulate paper poppies to raise funds for individuals living in war-torn France.
Guerin pitched the idea of an Inter-Allied Poppy Day to several nations after her American Poppy Drives proved successful. The Great War Veterans' Association of Canada (precursor to the Royal Canadian Legion) adopted the campaign in 1921.
Here at ARCAT we have two early letters from the office of the G.W.V.A. that request participation in the Poppy Day Campaign ahead of Armistice Day on November 11.
The Legion continues the annual Poppy Campaign to this day as a way to support veterans and their families. Find more information about the Poppy and Remembrance Day on the Legion's website.