The man behind the poppies

17 November 2013Reading

Linda Sutherland, writing for McGill News:

Ever stop to wonder why we pin a red poppy on our coat lapel in November to commemorate Remembrance Day? How did a flower become an emblem for war and loss?

The answer lies in the words of a poem, written by John McCrae, a Canadian physician and onetime pathology lecturer at McGill, while he was serving at the battlefront in Ypres, Belgium.

On May 3, 1915, the day after he performed a burial service for a close friend, McCrae reportedly sat on the step of an ambulance wagon and composed what is widely considered to be the world’s most famous war memorial poem.