The Poppy — a flower of remembrance, a memorial for American soldiers who have paid the supreme sacrifice in order that America could remain free.
In November 1918, Moina Belle Michael, “The Poppy Lady” from Georgia distributed poppies to businessmen and asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to those who died in battle. During the early 1920’s, at its national conventions, The American Legion and its Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its memorial flower, and mandated that contributions received from the distribution of the poppies be used for the sole purpose of aiding veterans and their families. Thus, the Poppy program begun.
Since the tradition began following World War I, the Poppy program has enabled us to offer direct assistance to our veterans and their families. With the help of our dedicated Auxiliary members we will be able to continue our efforts. Through the years, the Poppy program has grown to meet the needs of America’s veterans of wars. This program continues to assist hospitalized and disabled veterans in need of rehabilitation and financial assistance. The veteran poppy maker therapeutic and rehabilitative healing process is improved while supplementing their earnings. Thousands of veterans and their families benefit from the proceeds of the Poppy distribution. These distributions are held twice annually, in November to celebrate Veterans Day and during May to honor veterans for Memorial Day.
There is not a better way to show
our gratitude and thank those men and women in uniform, veterans and those who
paid the ultimate price so we could continue living in a free country than to
wear a Poppy as a reminder that we will “always remember”.
Poppy displays should always be dignified and show respect for what the flower represents. The red petals of the poppy symbolize the vast outpouring of blood by American soldiers on foreign soil where they perished.
In Flanders Fields
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 live,
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.
---Colonel John McCrae
A surgeon with Canada’s First Brigade Artillery, Colonel McCrae expressed his grief over “row upon row” of soldier’s graves who had died on Flanders’ battlefields. The poem became a rallying cry to all who fought in the First World War.
William Bloys Unit 2 currently is active in the poppy program.