Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday and is observed every year on the last Monday of May, is a day to honor all Americans who died while in military service. It is a custom on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sundown. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law the National Moment of Remembrance Act which designates 3p local time on Memorial Day each year as a National Moment of Remembrance, in honor of the men and women of the United States who died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.
In 1915 Moina Michael, who was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, replied with her own poem “We Shall Keep the Faith” and conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those killed while in military service. She wore the first one and sold them to friends and co-workers and gave the money to servicemen in need. The tradition spread to many other countries. In 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell poppies nationally and the poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was instituted and the artificial poppies were made by disabled and needy veterans who were paid for their work in order to provide them with financial assistance. To this day, “Buddy” Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans. In 1948, Moina Michael was honored with a three cent U.S. postage stamp for her role in starting the National Poppy movement.
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