National EMS Memorial Service


Why Red Poppies on Memorial Day?

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael. When she returned to France she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help.

Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.


2015 Weekend of Tribute

Weekend of Tribute 
June 25 – 28, 2015

The events are hosted in two cities; Littleton and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The following is schedule of events for the Weekend of Tribute. If you plan on attending the full weekend of events, we recommend you fly into Denver on Thursday morning, June 25 and rent a car for the drive to Colorado Springs (approx. 1 hr. drive) on Friday June 26 following the Air Medical Memorial Services. All of the Memorial events are non-denominational.

If you have any questions about the Weekend, please do not hesitate to contact:

Steven Sweeney, Founder, Air Medical Memorial at
Christina Gasparich, Director, Behind the Wings Family Support Network
Rande McCrary, Board Member, National EMS Memorial Service at
Robert Collett, Colorado Route Coordinator, National EMS Memorial Bike Ride at