Sweet Poppy honors our troops. Here's why

Sweet Poppy wine is more than a bubbly sip of Muscadine lusciousness with a hint of summertime peaches. There’s an important story behind that beautiful red flower on the bottle.

Our Sweet Poppy spring 2020 release is a tribute to our troops, the women and men who fight for our freedom. We put a red corn poppy on the wine’s label to honor service members, past and present, in the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and reserves.

Why the poppy?

The Friday before Memorial Day is Poppy Day in the United States. You may recall seeing American Legion Auxiliary and Veterans of Foreign Wars members distributing crepe paper poppies on that day and on Veterans Day. Wearing the “Remembrance Poppy” as a pin commemorates those who sacrificed their lives in wartime.

Where it all started

The tradition was inspired by a poem Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote in 1915 after watching his friend and comrade, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, die in a World War I battle in western Belgium. McCrae himself buried Helmer. He noticed poppies blooming over the graves of those who had perished in the same battle that took his friend. McCrae wrote the scene into the first lines of his poem, "In Flanders Fields."

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.

Sweet PoppySweet Poppy

The poem moved University of Georgia professor Moina Michael. During World War I, she left her teaching post to volunteer with the American YMCA Overseas War Secretaries Organization. Michael vowed to always wear a red poppy in remembrance of soldiers and others involved in the war. She also distributed red poppies for others to wear, and campaigned to have the poppy become a national symbol of remembrance.

The Poppy Lady

After World War I, the French government created The League of Children of France and America to help orphans in living in war-torn regions of that country. Leaders selected the poppy as the group’s symbol and called on Madame Anna E. Guérin to help build an American branch of the organization.

During the war, this Frenchwoman, a teacher, had worked tirelessly to raise funds for widows, orphans, veterans, the hungry and others who had suffered as a result of the fighting.

In 1920, Guérin traveled to the American Legion’s convention in Cleveland, Ohio, to talk about the idea for an Inter-Allied Poppy Day. After the convention, the American Legion adopted the poppy as its memorial flower and agreed to support the Poppy Day Guérin hoped to establish in the United States.

Guérin went on to organize a U.S. Poppy Day in 1921. The week before Memorial Day that year, volunteers collected donations as they distributed silk poppies made by widows and children who had been devastated by World War I battles in France.

Both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ took on the poppy drive in 1924. Donations collected during the distribution of poppies go to help veterans.

Many other counties have also adopted the red corn poppy as a symbol memorializing service members and others who have died in war. Some countries also recognize a Remembrance Day or Poppy Day. Today, you’ll see people wearing or handing out red poppies in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Ukraine, Albania and Pakistan.

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