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Poppies have long history as memorial

Those small red flowers -- poppies -- many Americans wear to honor military service personnel on Memorial Day have a long history:

· After World War I, they flourished in Europe, blooming above the battle graves because the ground soil had been churned and dug up. The dormant seeds had been beneath the ground and needed cultivation to make them grow.

· In 1918, Moina Michael popularized the idea of wearing a poppy flower in memory war dead, inspired by "In Flanders Fields," a poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae.

. . . .the blood of heroes never dies But lends a luster to the red Of the flower that blooms above the dead In Flanders Field

· Michael later started a campaign to adopt the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

· The American Legion family passes out paper poppies on Memorial Day and throughout the year to raise funds for veterans.

· Poppies have a long history of being used to honor the dead, having roots in Greek and Roman mythology.

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