In ancient Rome, the Rosalia (May 23) was a festival at which family tombs were decorated with rose garlands and wreaths. Standards in every legion were gathered around the altar at the center of a military camp and crowned with wreaths of roses. Since similar rites were held at family tombs, this military rite may have been intended to honor fallen comrades. It has a somewhat different counterpart in modern times.

In the United States, Memorial Day (May 30), originally called Decoration Day, is designated for honoring dead servicemen. In 1915, Moina Michael conceived the 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.


Memorial Day

Roman Rosalia
Offered up roses to
Honor the dead;
Modern day version of
Does much the same, but with
Poppies instead.

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