In honor of Memorial Day weekend, visitors at the National Mall in D.C. get a glimpse of the USAA Poppy Wall of Honor, featuring over 645,000 red poppies, which honors fallen service members.
“Each one of those poppies represent someone: mom, dad, sister, brother, uncle that has paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Ronnie Wright, a military affairs representative for USAA and 31-year-old Navy veteran.
Each poppy represents a service member death since the First World War.
The poppy began as a symbol of remembrance during World War I when Canadian military physician John McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” about a fallen comrade in Belgium.
The scale of poppies is staggering as they stretch the along the 133 foot long, 8 1/2 foot tall wall.
“Bottom line when you turn that corner, and you remember and you understand the significance,” Wright added.
On the other side, visitors can learn about each engagement from World War I through the War on Terror.
The Poppy Wall of Honor, located between the Lincoln Memorial and Korean War Memorial, also specifically honors those who served in the Vietnam War. This year marks 50 years since the U.S. exited that war.
“In some cases, it was a very tough situation when those folks came back home. But we’re just trying to honor them and pay them the respects of what they earned. Those people that paid the ultimate sacrifice, and those people that served and still with us today,” said Wright.
Visitors can see the Poppy Wall of Honor on Saturday, May 27, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, May 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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