You have seen Veterans out selling the "Buddy Poppies", but do you know the story behind them? We especially see the Poppies for sale over the Memorial Day Weekend as we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

It began towards the end of World War I. The bloodshed on the fields of France were represented by the "red" poppy which was seen growing there. The poem "In Flander's Fields" written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (Belgium - 1915) described the landscape of the time:

"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.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields"

The poppy was then adopted as a memorial flower for those veterans who have died and it has become an ongoing fundraiser for the VFW (Veterans of Foreign War).

The poppy program actually got its start on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Shortly after World War I, Madame E. Guerin, founder of the American and French Children's League, became concerned that the free world was forgetting too soon those who died in battle. She began using the poppy as a memorial from the poem "In Flander's Fields" and eventually brought the idea to America.

In May 1922, the VFW conducted the first nationwide distribution of poppies in the United States. This Memorial Day Weekend, if you see a Veteran selling his "Buddy Poppies" be sure to purchase one and help area Veterans.

Now you know the history of the Buddy Poppy and you can help "HONOR THE DEAD BY HELPING THE LIVING".


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