© 2017 by Heather French Foundation for Veterans, Inc. in Partnership with the KY WWI Centennial Committee.

Become a Poppy Partner

During the First World War (1914–1918) much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud: bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.

Bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) however, were delicate but resilient flowers and grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction. In early May 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'.

McCrae’s poem inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin. The (Royal) British Legion, formed in 1921, ordered 9 million of these poppies and sold them on 11 November that year. The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever 'Poppy Appeal' raised over £106,000; a considerable amount of money at the time. This was used to help WW1 veterans with employment and housing.

 

The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-Servicemen. Today, the factory and the Legion's warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year.

The demand for poppies in England was so high that few were reaching Scotland. Earl Haig's wife established the 'Lady Haig Poppy Factory' in Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland. Over 5 million Scottish poppies (which have four petals and no leaf unlike poppies in the rest of the UK) are still made by hand by disabled ex-Servicemen at Lady Haig's Poppy Factory each year and distributed by our sister charity Poppyscotland.

 http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/  

ABOUT THE KY POPPY PROJECT

The History of the Poppy....

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.

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.

The KY Poppy Project was inspired by the 5000 Poppy Project from Australia. A group of women collected over 300,000 poppies during the Australian WWI Commemoration to show their support for their WWI veterans.  In Kentucky, we trained thousands of troops from around the nation and sent thousands of our own veterans from the Commonwealth off to battle, as well.  The KY Poppy Project is a great way for young and old alike to show their support of Kentucky's history in WWI.  Whether you have a school group, a local or state organization or if you, as an individual, want to become a "Poppy Partner"... we welcome you to join us. 

Our goal is to collect poppies until the summer of 2019 and close out the commemoration with the laying of thousands of poppies on the steps of the Capitol Building in Frankfort, KY.  We will also have many chances throughout the commemoration to showcase the poppies at events such as the 2017 KY State Fair as part of our KY WWI Exhibit on our "Poppy Wall."

If you wish to join us as a "Poppy Partner," please contact us using the form below or email at kypoppyproject@gmail.com .

Brief Video on the History of the Poppy...

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