National Poppy Day is the Friday before Memorial Day
The American Legion Family recognizes the importance of honoring the fallen and supporting the living who have worn our nation’s uniform. That is why The American Legion Family called upon Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day .
After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe and quickly became a symbol of the sacrifices made by Americans and allied servicemembers around the world. Soldiers returning from WWI brought home the flowers in memory of the barren landscape transformed by the sudden growth of wild red poppies among the newly dug graves — unforgettably described in a memorial poem by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae:
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
National Poppy Day broadens a tradition that dates back to the American Legion Auxiliary’s first National Convention in the early 1920s when the red poppy was adopted as The American Legion Family’s memorial flower. Today, it remains an iconic symbol of honor for the sacrifice of our veterans. ALA members distribute millions of poppies annually across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities.