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Prince William Honors Veterans at Gala Dinner — the Story Behind His Poppy Pin

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Prince William attended the City Veterans’ Network’s annual dinner at the Imperial War Museum in London on Thursday night. And he had on a special accessory  — a poppy pin.

The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war.

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The poppy symbol is believed to have come from the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, a poem about World War I. The opening stanza reads:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The royal family proudly wears their pins when they honor armed forces who sacrificed their lives.

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The tradition of wearing a poppy has been adopted across the U.K. and in Canada. It is especially poignant on Armistice Day on Nov. 11, which is observed in Europe and in the countries of the Commonwealth to remember the sacrifices of military members.

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The poppy is worn on the left to symbolize that those who died are close to your heart, according to the BBC. It’s also where military medals are worn.

RELATED VIDEO: Men at Work! Prince William Tells Prince Harry, ‘Game On,’ as They Wear Hard Hats to Build Homes for Veterans

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According to the Royal British Legion, who produces poppies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, “There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy. It is a matter of personal choice whether an individual chooses to wear a poppy and also how they choose to wear it. The best way to wear a poppy is to wear it with pride.”