The first World War ended in 1918 ...on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae's poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.
In Flanders' Fields by John McCrae, 1915
In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.
The first official Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921, inspired by the poem In Flanders' Fields written by John McCrae. Since then the Poppy Appeal has been a key annual event in the nation's calendar.
Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War One took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. The poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote the verses written above.
<a href='http://www.britishlegion.org.uk' target="_blank">The Royal British Legion</a> is a charity that supports the serving and ex-Service community, and their families, as well as being one of the country's largest membership organisations. We are probably best-known for our role as the nation's custodian of Remembrance and for the Poppy Appeal which we organise annually
Poppy Support is the new name for all our welfare services. It is split into six categories: Poppy Advice, Poppy Funds, Poppy Breaks, Poppy Homes, Poppy Travel and Poppy People. Nearly 10.5 million people in the UK are eligible for our help, so if you or someone you know is serving, ex-Service or a dependant and in need, please call Legion online on 08457 725 725. We'd like to be able to help.
Show Your Support
There are many ways to support <a href='http://www.poppy.org.uk'/a>The Poppy Appeal </a> either individually or as a company. And now you can show your support digitally - by email, on your mobile and on <a href='http://apps.facebook.com/login.php'>Facebook</a> or call the Supporters helpline on 0845 854 1945