Seniors remember veterans, make poppies
November 16, 2010
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Senior Sarah Berg walked into English on November 11 with the full expectation to continue her in-class discussion on Macbeth. However, class was dedicated remember our nations by making poppies.
English teacher Deborah Stathes makes poppies with her senior classes every year to commemorate the U.S. veterans and the veterans of our allies.
“I make the poppies because this is an English Literature course and “In Flanders Fields” is a very influential piece of English literature,” Stathes said. “Whenever I can, I try to bring in English cultural things, and the poppies have always been important to me to share with my students.”
Stathes’s students spent Veterans Day in class, learning about the history of “In Flanders’ Fields” and the poppies. They then made crepe paper poppies to wear on their uniforms and lapels.
Every year on the 11th day of the 11th month, Great Britain and the United States remember their veterans. Poppies are used as a symbol to show support for all veterans, alive and passed.
Veterans Day, or Armistice Day in Great Britain, is celebrated on this day because on Nov. 11, 1918, a treaty was signed between the Allies and Germany in Compiègne, France, putting an end to fighting on the Western Front.
Poppies have come to be the symbol of Veterans Day because of their association with World War I.
While Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. was lying in the trenches, he wrote “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow between the crosses row on row.” These lines are from his well-known poem “In Flanders’ Fields,” which was scribbled on an envelope while he was serving in the trenches during the first world war.
McCrae’s poem had a huge effect on two women during that time. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, “Anna E. Guerin of France and Georgia native Moina Michael both worked hard to initiate the sale of artificial poppies to help orphans and others left destitute by the war. By 1920, when Guerin, with the help of the American Legion, established the first poppy sale in the U.S., the flower became well known in the allied countries — America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — as the “Flower of Remembrance.”
Proceeds from that first sale went to the American and French Children’s League. Ever since, the poppies have been a symbol of Armistice Day and Veterans Day.
“I think making poppies is a great idea because it helps us show support for those who have served our country,” senior Sarah Berg said.
Walczyk can be reached for comment at [email protected]