Moina Michael’s 1918 poem “We Shall Keep the Faith” was inspired by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae’s famous 1915 work, “In Flanders Fields.” Both poems were written to honor fallen heroes of World War I, and they propelled the red poppy into global awareness as the official flower to remember all who made the ultimate sacrifice in military service.
American Legion Past National Commander Denise Rohan recites “We Shall Keep the Faith” in this 2020 video which may be shared through social media and American Legion Family websites. The video is a counterpart to a 2018 recording of Past National Commander John P. “Jake” Comer reciting “In Flanders Fields.”
The American Legion named the red poppy its official flower on Sept. 27, 1920, at the organization’s second national convention, in Cleveland. The following year, the American Legion Auxiliary – gathered for its first national convention, in Kansas City – also adopted the red poppy as its official flower.
In the decades that followed, and continuing today, The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary have distributed tens of millions of poppies to raise funds to directly assist disabled veterans and their children. In 1952 alone, nearly 9,700 disabled veterans produced more than 26 million poppies for distribution by the American Legion Auxiliary.