NORTH CAROLINA -- It's hard to miss the bright red flowers popping up along North Carolina Highways.

But they aren't just there for beauty; the poppies carry a special meaning.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation planted them to honor servicemen and women who fought for our country during World War I.

It has been 100 years since North Carolina officially joined World War I. The red poppy is the official emblem of the American Legion and has long been used to honor those who died in the war.

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The symbol was inspired by the opening lines of Canadian Army officer John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Field.” In the poem, McCrae references poppies that bloomed around mass graves of soldiers.