Moina Michael

Moina Michael (August 15, 1869-May 10, 1944)
was an American professor and humanitarian who conceived the idea of using poppies as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I.

Born in Good Hope, Georgia, Michael was educated at Lucy Cobb Institute and Georgia State Teachers College, both located in Athens, Georgia, and Columbia University in New York City. She was a professor at the University of Georgia when the U.S. entered World War I. She took a leave of absence from her work and volunteered to assist in the New York-based training headquarters for overseas YWCA workers.

Inspired by the Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae’s  poem  In Flanders Fields, she published a poem in response called We Shall Keep the Faith. In tribute to the opening lines of McCrae’s poem — “In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses row on row,” Moina Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war.

We Shall Keep the Faith by Moina Michael. written  November 1918. 

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

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,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.


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