SAN ANTONIO – A poppy worn is a hero honored.
It’s the universal symbol of remembering those that have died defending our country.
But why the poppy?
“Back in World War I, a Canadian army doctor buried his friend in Flanders Field and wrote a poem,” John Bird, Vice Admiral, US Navy veteran and Senior Vice President of USAA, said.
Vice Adm. Bird explains that in that poem, the author wrote about how the poppies blow among the many rows of crosses.
Because of that poem, he said it’s known in many countries as a symbol of remembrance.
It’s through those poppies that USAA has honored fallen heroes on Memorial Day, through a temporary poppy wall of honor on the National Mall near the Korean Way.
The wall is filled with 645,000 artificial poppies, one for each life lost in the line of duty since World War I.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that event will again be virtual this year.
“So we have a website they can visit, learn about the poppy, the poppy wall, the men and women and the history of these conflicts,” Vice Adm. Bird said.
Vice Adm. Bird says the virtual event encourages online visitors to remember our fallen heroes through social media posts — posting what Memorial Day means using the #honorthroughaction.
He said he hopes the virtual poppy wall will continue to educate the public on the importance of honoring those that make the ultimate sacrifice.
“We as a country need to show how much we respect that and how much we value that give up their lives for us. So it goes to our national character and it’s critically important that we take one day a year to remember those fallen,” Vice Adm. Bird said.