Celebrating Moina Belle Michael,
The Poppy Lady
Do you know why people wear red poppies on Memorial Day?
It’s a trend started many years ago by a woman named Moina Belle Michael (1869 – 1944), a humanitarian and teacher who worked for the YMCA Overseas War Workers in Europe during WWI and later taught disabled veterans.
Spiritually inspired by John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, Moina resolved to promote and always wear the red poppy as a symbol to remember the fallen.
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…
She first championed the red poppy as a memorial emblem in 1918, distributing them to businessmen who were attending a meeting at the YMCA in New York where she worked. As a result of her tireless campaign, it became the official flower of the American Legion Auxiliary in 1923. Today, the organization (run by women relatives of wartime veterans) raises more than $5.5 million a year on behalf of military families distributing poppies handmade by veterans.
At Luma Wealth, we’re committed to celebrating women like Moina Belle Michael and the women who run the American Legion Auxiliary, agents of change who help make the world a better place.