The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans
Barbara Elizabeth Walsh & Layne Johnson
Boyds Mills Press, 2012 (2012)
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
ow did poppies come to be associated with veterans? Barbara Elizabeth Walsh tells the story of Moina Belle Michael and her vow to do all she can for the soldiers of World War I. Unable to go overseas because of her age, Moina decides she must help the soldiers before they leave for Europe to fight.
oina set up a desk in the basement of Columbia's Hamilton Hall and soldiers are invited to spend their spare time there. When winter approaches she uses her own small salary to make the area brighter. She buys fresh flowers for decoration. Later after reading the poem
We Shall Not Sleep
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, she decides she will always wear one of the red poppies of Flanders Fields. Moina's hard work and her resolve to never forget the soldiers results in poppies becoming the memorial flower adopted by several national and international veterans' organizations.
he story of Moina Belle Michael can serve as an introduction to World War I and the men who have served in that and other wars.
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