We put a lot of effort into our Memorial Day T-Shirt, which is the second in the Great Shirt Ideas that Came From Nick's Dad Collection. The front features a WWI soldier standing over the grave of his compatriot, draped in a poppy. It has an excerpt from the speech every leader wishes he was cool enough to give the Saint Crispin's Day Speech from Billy Shakespeare's Henry V , The Fewer the Men, the greater the share of Honor. The back showcases the entire Saint Crispin's Day Speech with the phrase that we hope every warrior commits to above all else: "If it is a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul alive" brandished over a long sword. The History of the Memorial Day Poppy The poppy has long been a symbol of the blood and sacrifice of warriors. Poppies are even mentioned in Homer's Illiad and in many of the tales of Genghis Kahn as a way to memorialize the fallen. However, the most recent and long-lasting tradition began in WWI when John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer, scratched a poem on a tablet during a lull in the battle. The poem made its rounds through the military and eventually found itself reprinted under the title "Flanders Field" in Punch Magazine. In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That marks our place; and in the sky, The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt the dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders Fields Three years later Moina Michael, an American, responded to the poem: We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies She began a small movement of getting women to wear a poppy on their coat or shirt to remember those who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. Madam Guerin, a French woman built on this idea and began selling red poppies to raise money for the benefit of the orphaned and destitute women and children in war-torn areas of France. This tradition spread to Canada, The United States, and Australia and is still followed today. The money collected from the sale of poppies goes to fund various veterans programs.
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