Georgia Magazine - May 2020 - 28

Georgia Magazine

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

ISTOCK.COM / VITALINA

28

The Georgia Historical
Commission in 1958 erected a
marker near Good Hope to honor Moina Michael.
May 2020

"THE MIRACLE FLOWER," MOINA MICHAEL
AUTOBIOGRAPHY

with my mom and we would sell
poppies for the American Legion,"
says Mize, now director and social
media coordinator for the Moina
Michael Poppy Project, moina
michaelpoppyproject.com. This
small Athens-based crafting group
makes poppies sold on Etsy, etsy.
com/shop/michaelpoppyproject,
and at various events. Proceeds go to UGA's Student Veterans Resource Center. The Moina Michael
Poppy Project also works with the annual Good
Hope Poppy Festival, goodhopepoppyfestival.com,
in Good Hope to raise funds for veterans organizations. (The festival's presenting sponsor is Monroebased Walton Electric Membership Corp.)
While the tradition of the red poppy has
flourished, many years and other wars have seen
the memories of Moina Michael and her significant role in American history somewhat fade. By
the early 2000s, Pat Antrilli, who had retired
and was living in Devon, Penn., was
concerned that the woman
"who made him feel like
family" was being forgotten.
Then his daughter, Walsh-
who, like Michael, was a former
teacher-came to him for help
in 2002. She was taking correspondence courses through

COURTESY BARBARA WALSH

COURTESY TOM MICHAEL

Above: Moina Michael planted poppies on the University of
Georgia campus in Athens. Above right: Michael sent this
handmade poppy and postcard to Millie Antonelli, Pat Antrilli's
then-fiancée, in 1942. Right: This portrait of Michael appeared
in her autobiography as well as on the 1948 postage stamp.

the Connecticut-based Institute
of Children's Literature and had
been given an assignment to
write about a real person. Walsh
was looking for a subject, and
Antrilli was quick to provide one:
his special friend, Moina Michael.
To his delight, Walsh's
assignment later morphed into a children's book: "The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael
and Her Tribute to Veterans" (Calkins Creek, 2012).
Walsh's proceeds from the book go to the National
Military Family Association, militaryfamily.org.
"Any day can be poppy day," says Jennifer
Donovan, communications specialist for the national
headquarters of the American Legion Auxiliary,
explaining that the dates of poppy events vary for different groups. Even so, the American Legion Auxiliary-in conjunction with the American Legion, the
Sons of the American Legion and the Legion Riders-
"decided to push for a National Poppy Day to
strengthen the poppy program as we head into
the next century of service."
Thus, in 2017, Congress designated the Friday before Memorial
Day as such. No doubt Antrilli,
who passed away in 2013, would
hope that we remember his friend
Moina Michael on that day. As for
Michael, she likely would have us
always remember why the poppy
is red.
Sarah Russell is a freelance
writer in Hot Springs, Ark.


http://www.moinamichaelpoppyproject.com/ http://www.moinamichaelpoppyproject.com/ http://etsy.com/shop/michaelpoppyproject http://etsy.com/shop/michaelpoppyproject http://www.goodhopepoppyfestival.com http://www.militaryfamily.org http://www.ISTOCK.COM/vitalina

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
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