The Red Poppy: The meaning of the flower of remembrance

BALTIMORE, Md. - On May 25 Vietnam Veteran Jim Murphy and the Bel Air Chapter of the American Legion will hand out 3,000 Red Poppy’s at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

He’s been handing out Poppy’s for 50 years.

“It’s kind of important to remember that we’re also good at peace,” said Murphy

In Flanders Field is a poem written about the Red Poppy, the flower of remembrance.

 “The poppy survived those great battles and still thrived on the fields. It shows that we can survive even after the war,” said Russell Myers Jr. of the American Legion.

For 100 years the poppy has been a symbol, remembering those who have lost and the men and women often forgotten.

 “I remember one veteran from Vietnam who was unidentified,” Murphy said. “For those, we fight for life has a meaning,” said Murphy. “Protect it because you never know.”

The Myers family is full of veterans including Jim’s great-grandfather who served in WWI.

He thinks of Major Robert Marchanti who was killed in 2012 while they served together in Afghanistan.

 “He was a local school teacher and a great man who lost his life over there,” Myers said.  “When I look at the flower those are the things that I remember those that have gone before us. Not a flower of sorrow or anything else, it’s a flower to remember that we survived and we persevered because of all they gave.”

The American Legion's mission is to help veterans and their families.

“It is our duty to do that and the poppy just helps us carry out those important programs by giving us donations that we can then apply to charities VA hospitals and just continue our service to the nation,” Myers said.

By spreading the poppy, they continue a legacy.

“You hand them to children and they have no idea what the red flowers about,” Myers said. “It's hoped that their parents and the rest of the community helps educate them to understand why we do that.”

National Poppy Day is May 25 to learn more about it click here.

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