Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 26

By Sarah Russell

ISTOCK.COM / NATALKAPRAGUE

ISTOCK.COM / ANTONEL

O

n the Friday before Memorial Day,
red paper poppies will appear across
Georgia. Since World War I the poppy-
now a national and international icon-has served
not only to honor those fallen in battle but also to
provide millions of dollars each year in support of
disabled veterans. All of this is because of the sheer
determination of one schoolteacher from Good
Hope in Walton County.

Poppies grow near the graves of
World War I soldiers at Ypres Reservoir
Cemetery in West Flanders, Belgium.

26

Georgia Magazine

May 2020

HENSCLARK
RITAGE ROOM
, AT

Good Hope native launched
the worldwide remembrance
of fallen soldiers

COURTESY HE

Poppy
Lady

E COUNTY LL
IBRARY

The

Moina Michael tends
the flowers in her memorial garden at the
University of Georgia. She and Pat Antrilli, at right,
shared a love of plants and formed a friendship when the
young soldier was training in Athens during World War II.

Hope was far from young soldier Pat Antrilli's
heart the day he learned his two brothers were
prisoners of war. During World War II, Antrilli had
been sent to Athens to attend the Army's Signal Corps
School at the University of Georgia (UGA). He and
300 fellow soldiers were assigned housing in the
Hotel Georgian. Another resident of the hotel was
Moina Michael, a retired teacher who was in declining health. When she sensed his distress that day, she
crossed the hotel lobby to talk with him.
As his daughter, Barbara Walsh, later recounted:
"The two of them spoke for hours. In the weeks
that followed, she would look for my dad when he
returned from his studies to see how he was doing."
Michael was a dedicated horticulturist who grew
flowers in a memorial garden at UGA and regularly
provided blooms to brighten the hotel lobby. Antrilli,
having a bit of a green thumb himself, bonded with
Michael, who'd become known as The Poppy Lady.
Neither a wife, widow nor mother, Michael
nevertheless had helped many young people. During
World War I, the YMCA established a program at
Columbia University in New York City to train women
to serve overseas as canteen workers, predecessors
to USO hostesses. At almost 50, Michael "was too old.


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Georgia Magazine - May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 10
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Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 27
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Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 38
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Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 45
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 46
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - Cover4
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