Memorial Day Poetry and Poppies May 09 2010

One important teaching skill is to guide children through the steps involved in being kind and respectful. We need to teach good character as well as academics. This lesson plan will allow your students to make a positive difference in the world while learning about poetry and history. Specifically, how to honor the memory of soldiers on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day Poetry Lesson Plan

Moina Michael, pictured on a U.S. postage stamp, was the first person to wear a poppy as a way to honor soldiers who have died at war. She sold poppies to her friends and co-workers and gave the money to servicemen in need. Moina was inspired by the poem, In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields

by John Mc Crae, 1915

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.

Moina created her own poem, as well as the poppies.

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.

Moina used her creative talents to help servicemen. Moina's poem and poppy idea then inspired a woman visiting the United States from France, Madam Guerin. When Madam Guerin retured to France she made artificial red poppies and sold the poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women.

What Can We Do for Our Fallen Soldeirs Now?

We can also be creative and inspired by Moina to make a difference in the world, while honoring our service women and men.

Poem & Poppy Gifts for Memorial Day

You can choose to have your students donate the money earned from selling the poppies to soldiers in need or war orphaned children and spouses. We can  show respect for our soldiers by giving back to those who are still living (war orphaned children, widows and veterans). It is also important to keep the gravesites of fallen soldiers well kept. Memorial Day, set aside time to remember soldiers who have given their lives so we can live in the United States while enjoying freedom.

Veterans and soldiers who have died for the freedoms we have in the United States come from all ethnic backgrounds. We are fortunate in the United States because we enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to earn an education, freedom to own a business, and to have as many children as we want to. Some countries do not allow their citizens to have these freedoms. We need soldiers to protect our country and our rights.

Illustrations by Carol Brooke