In 1921 the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion family in memory of the soldiers who fought on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I. Crepe paper poppies are still the official flower of Poppy Day.
They are handmade by disabled or hospitalized veterans. Supplies to make the poppies are provided free of charge by the State American Legion Auxiliary to the VA facility in which the veterans reside.
In Minnesota the poppies are handmade at the Hastings Home.
The veterans are paid a stipend for their work.
Poppies are not “sold” rather they are “distributed.” We ask you to wear a poppy in remembrance and the people who acquire the poppy are invited to make a donation.
Poppy funds acquired through this distribution are used for veterans and their families in the program called “Gift Shop.”
The funds provide a monetary gift to every veteran in a Medical Center or a Veterans Home in Minnesota at Christmas.
The funds provide comfort items and entertainment for those same veterans.
Many poems have been written about the poppy. This one is by a Minnesotan, Martha Thoreson. We hope it gives the message of how important we feel the poppy story is.
The poppy is a flower, We treasure it with pride.
It decorates the graves of those who for our country died.
Far away in France, in Flanders Field they say,
Many of our loved ones, under poppies lie.
So we wear the poppy proudly, for everyone to see
In remembrance of our heroes, who died for liberty.
When you see a poppy volunteer May 19, please stop by, say hello and pick up a poppy to wear in remembrance of veterans of all wars or today, in honor of those men and women serving now.
Wear that poppy proudly through the rest of May – or all year – and especially on Memorial Day.
Beverly Otterness for the American Legion Auxiliary
Note: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed May 2012 Poppy Month saying, “It is fitting and proper that we recognize the courageous efforts of our veterans who have sacrificed to secure freedom and liberty for all Americans.”