After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. The unusual growth was attributed by the scientists to the soils in France and Belgium, which became enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the debris, dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. It came to symbolize the bloodshed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem "In Flanders Fields." It was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines and witnessing the horrors of the war.