If you're in the Washington, D.C. area this weekend, you might check out a temporary installation near the Lincoln Memorial.
The Poppy Memorial is a translucent structure that measures 133 feet long, 8 1/2 feet tall and is filled with more than 645,000 poppy flowers — honoring every man and woman who gave their life in service of our nation since World War I. USAA is sponsoring the installation.
Inspired by John McCrae's World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields,” the poppy is a widely-recognized symbol of remembrance.
“The poppy flower symbolizes those who gave the last full measure in defense of our freedoms,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Bird, USAA Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. The Poppy Memorial visualizes the magnitude of that sacrifice and reminds us all of the price that was paid. We are grateful to the National Park Service for allowing us to display this inspiring and educational exhibit among the permanent monuments, as a testament to the enduring bravery of our men and women in uniform.”
From Friday, May 25, through Sunday, May 27, the Poppy Memorial will be open daily from 9am to 9 pm ET. The memorial will be displayed on the southwestern side of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – with the Lincoln Memorial to the west, the Korean War Memorial to the south, the reflecting pool due north and the World War II Memorial to the east. The more than 645,000 poppies are a combination of VFW “Buddy”poppies and poppies from the American Legion Family, both programs designed to encourage Americans to wear poppies in remembrance of the fallen.
If you're not in the D.C. area this weekend, you can still visit PoppyInMemory.com to dedicate a digital poppy to a fallen loved one or as a gesture of appreciation for those who sacrificed all. The site also allows users to find previously dedicated poppies that memorialize the servicemembers lost since World War I, and to directly share a “Poppy In Memory” on Facebook and Twitter.
Read the full text of McCrae's poem below:
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.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt 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.