Guest Opinion

Submitted by the Starbuck VFW Post 4582 Auxiliary

With MEMORIAL DAY just a few weeks away we will soon see “BUDDY POPPIES” showing up around town everywhere.  The history of the red poppy dates back to World War I when Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae noticed red poppies blooming in the battlefields where many soldiers had fought and lost their lives.  It inspired him to write the now famous poem “In Flanders Field”, first published in London.

In America Moina MIchael, a professor at the University of Georgia, came across the poem when it was published in the Ladies Home Journal.  She vowed to always wear a red poppy in remembrance of those who were lost and she began making red poppies to raise money to support returning veterans.  She lobbied to have the National American Legion recognize the poppy as a symbol and it officially be-came the U.S. National Emblem of Remembrance in September of 1920.

At the same time in France, Madam E. Guerin was selling poppies to provide relief for the people of war torn France.  After the war she began attending the conventions of servicemen’s organizations and spoke about wearing a red poppy in remembrance of all servicemen who had lost their lives.  She came to the U.S. and asked the VFW for help and the VFW took over the distribution of poppies. In May of 1922 the VFW held the first nationwide distribution of poppies and in August of that year the VFW adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower.

The VFW Buddy Poppies are made by disabled veterans, aging veterans in VA hospitals, and other vet-erans in need.  The name “Buddy Poppies” was used by the poppy makers to remember and honor their buddies who never came home.  The name became official in 1924 when the VFW registered the name “Buddy Poppy” with the U.S. Patent Office.

Donations received from “Buddy Poppy” distribution , as noted in the VFW National by-laws, are used for the following purposes to benefit veterans:

* For the aid, assistance, relief, and comfort of needy or disabled veterans or members of the   Armed Forces and their dependents, and the widows and orphans of disabled, needy, or   deceased veterans or members of the Armed Forces.

* For the maintenance and expansion of the VFW National Home and other facilities devoted   exclusively to the benefit and welfare of the dependents, widows, and orphans of dis-abled,   needy or deceased veterans or members of the Armed Forces.

* For necessary expenses in providing entertainment, care, and assistance to hospitalized   veterans or members of the Armed Forces.

* To perpetuate the memory of deceased veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and to    comfort survivors.

Buddy Poppies are never sold, but contributions are accepted, so please contribute if you can and wear your “Buddy Poppy” with pride in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in defense of our country.