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Britain marks the 90th anniversary of its remembrance poppy appeal

Getty Images moved a series of archive pictures today to mark the 90th anniversary of Britain's remembrance poppy appeal, which falls on Veterans Day this Friday.

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Bus driver John Robert Fraser buys a Remembrance Day poppy from twins Pamela and Pauline Chamberlain at Leytonstone in London, England, on November 7, 1953.

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A group of volunteers packing artificial poppies for Armistice Day in an undated photo.

The wearing of poppies in honor of the war dead is common in Canada and the United Kingdom, though the practice was initiated by an American, Moina Michael, who was inspired by the 1915 poem 'In Flanders' Fields' by John McCrae. In the United States poppies are traditionally worn on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Royal British Legion, a veterans' welfare charity, says that last year's poppy appeal raised over £36 million ($57 million) for British veterans and their families.

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Earl Haig (1861 - 1928) watches the stamping of poppies by ex-servicemen during a visit to the British Legion poppy factory on October 22, 1926 in Richmond, Surrey, England. Haig, who commanded British forces during the Battle of the Somme, was a leading light in the spread of the poppy day appeal.

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A woman views crosses in Scotland's first Field of Remembrance in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh on November 7, 2011. Volunteers helped plant approximately 11,000 remembrance crosses as a temporary memorial to mark the 90th anniversary of the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

The power of the poppy to fire emotions is illustrated by a couple of minor recent storms in the British press. The English and Welsh soccer teams' request to wear a poppy on their shirts this weekend was refused by Fifa, the sport's governing body, sparking outrage in some quarters. A compromise was later reached allowing the players to wear poppies on black armbands.

Meanwhile, others complain of 'poppy fascism' in which public figures are condemned if they do not wear the symbol. "Heaven be thanked that the soldiers of the Great War cannot return today to discover how their sacrifice has been turned into a fashion appendage," Robert Fisk writes in The Independent.