Moina Belle Michael


Moina Belle Michael Famous memorial

Good Hope, Walton County, Georgia, USA
Death 10 May 1944 (aged 74)
Athens, Clarke County, Georgia, USA
Burial Monroe, Walton County, Georgia, USA
Memorial ID 9759 View Source

Educator. She established the poppy as a universal symbol of tribute and support for veterans. Flanders Field is a United States military cemetery near Waregem, Belgium which contain the bodies of 368 Americans who died in World War I. It was the source for the famous poem, "In Flanders Field" by Canadian poet John McCrae. Michael was reading the Ladies Home Journal noticing the poem which tells of poppies blowing between crosses marking soldier's graves. Its reading made a lasting impression and inspired her to write her own poem, "We Shall Keep the Faith." She began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute and support for veterans. Through her efforts, this idea was adopted in the United States and spread to England, France, Australia and more than 50 other countries. Disabled veterans made the poppies, and all the profits went to their relief, rehabilitation and as well to their needy dependents. By the time of her death in 1944, approximately $200 million had been raised for this cause. She was born in a rural area near Good Hope, Walton County, Georgia, the daughter of John Marion Michael a Confederate veteran. She attended the Martin Institute in Jefferson, Georgia, Lucy Cobb Institute and the State Normal School both in Athens, Georgia and then went on to Columbia University in New York. She became a teacher and her career spanned over fifty years with the Georgia school system. At the outbreak of World War I, she volunteered for war work but her age barred her from serving overseas. Moina instead worked at the training headquarters for overseas YWCA workers located at Columbia University where the poppy venture was born. Initially some success came with the poppy emblem when some YMCA conferences and a few organizations adopted it. However, her vision in getting the Poppy Emblem adopted as a national memorial symbol encouraged her to spend the rest of her life with promotions. The American Legion agreed deeming disabled American war veterans could make the flowers while providing the material and a workshop in Cleveland. Soon members began selling them across the country during the month of November corresponding with Armistice Day. She continued teaching at the University of Georgia while working with disabled servicemen. Moina taught a class in the summer months helping them to become self reliant. Illness forced her retirement from the University and she passed away less then a year later at her residence in Athens and was interred in historic Monroe Cemetery. Some of the many honors and monuments bestowed upon Michael during her lifetime... she received the American Legion Auxiliary Distinguished Service Medal. The Georgia Legislature designated her a "Distinguished Citizen" and the American Legion and Auxiliary placed a marble bust of her in the Georgia state capitol. After her death... the Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in her memory on May 10, 1944. A Liberty Ship launched during the Second World War carried her name," Moina Michael" and The Georgia General Assembly designated the stretch of U.S. highway 78 between Athens and Monroe as "The Moina Michael Highway."

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 2 Jun 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 9759
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Moina Belle Michael (15 Aug 1869–10 May 1944), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9759, citing Rest Haven Cemetery, Monroe, Walton County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .