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A remembrance poppy is an artificial flower worn in some countries to commemorate their military personnel who died in war. Inspired by the war poem "In Flanders Fields", and promoted by Moina Michael, they were first used near the end of World War I to commemorate British Empire and United States military casualties of the war. Madame Guérin established the first "Poppy Days" to raise funds for veterans, widows, orphans, liberty bonds, and charities such as the Red Cross.[2]

Remembrance poppies are produced by veterans' associations, who exchange the poppies for charitable donations used to give financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the armed forces.[1]

In Canada, the poppy is the official symbol of remembrance. It was adopted as such in 1921 and it is generally worn during the last Friday of October leading up to 11 November. The first poppy is customarily presented to the Governor General of Canada by the Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion. The Royal Canadian Legion, which has trademarked the image,[12] suggests that poppies be worn on the left lapel, or as near the heart as possible.[13]

The Canadian poppy design features four petals, a black centre and no leaf.[10] The remembrance poppy is made up of two pieces of moulded plastic covered with flocking with a pin for fastening to clothing.

Until 1996, poppies were made by disabled veterans in Canada, but they have since been made by a private contractor.[17] Remembrance poppies produced for the Royal Canadian Legion are made in Toronto, with the legion distributing over 18 million poppies in 2011.[10]

Remembrance poppies placed atop the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Remembrance Dayceremony in Ottawa. Following the 2000 installation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, where the national Remembrance Service is held, a new tradition began of attendees laying their poppies on the tomb at the end of the service. While not part of the official program, the act has become widely practised elsewhere in the country, with others leaving cut flowers, photographs, or letters as well.


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