Friday, May 25, 2007

Origin of Buddy Poppy

With Memorial Day approaching, I decided to research the origin of the Buddy Poppy, the red flower which is distributed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was surprised to learn it has a long history,

The red poppy was immortalized as a symbol of the sacrifice of battle through a poem written in Ypres (now known as Ieper), Belgium by a Canadian Army physician.

In Flanders Fields
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

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 red poppy, the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, was first distributed in 1922. A year later the VFW decided to have the poppies assembled by disabled and needy veterans to provide them some financial assistance. When assembly began the following year, the “Buddy Poppy” was born. To this day, the assembly of the Buddy Poppy is done by disabled and needy veterans, and the distribution of the poppy provides assistance to various VFW programs, as well as to orphans and widows of American veterans.

Memorial Day is Monday, May 28, in the United States, and the VFW is once again distributing Buddy Poppies. I hope you will make a donation and wear your Buddy Poppy with pride.

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