Canada Explained Nov 11, 2020 5:08 PM EST

Why Canadians wear poppies and why Americans don't

Americans and Newfoundlanders have never used the poppy to the same degree as most Canadians. And for good reason.

Why Canadians wear poppies and why Americans don't
Matthew Grainger Toronto, ON
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Every November, millions of Canadians wear the iconic poppy broach. It’s a symbol that immediately reminds us of the sacrifice of our brave soldiers during the world wars and every conflict since.

But poppies aren’t a ubiquitous symbol. Americans and Newfoundlanders have never used it to the same degree as most Canadians or other commonwealth citizens. And for good reason.

The modern use of the poppy is indelibly tied to the history of the First World War, a Canadian poet by the name of John McCrae, the controversial late entrance of the United States, and the millions of children who were orphaned in WWI's wake.

Although to Canadians the poppy has an unmistakable look and universal significance, the nations who have fiercely adopted the poppy have done so in varying degrees, wear it at different times, and each has adopted their own design.

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