I'm sure most of our readers have encountered members of the American Legion families (the Legion, the Auxiliary, the Sons of the Legion and the Legion Riders) somewhere in town today looking for donations in exchange for a "Poppy for our Veterans." How many of us know exactly how the poppy came to be the symbol of veterans for the American Legion and the VFW? Don't be afraid to say "I have no clue."
Like most, until I joined the American Legion Auxiliary, all I knew was they were usually available around Memorial Day and the proceeds are for the veterans. I thought Patch readers would be interested in knowing a small history of the poppy sales. I quote from material given to me, author unknown.
The Memorial Poppy
"The wearing of a poppy means "honor the dead and help the living". The poppy as the memorial flower for the American war dead is a tradition, which began in the years following WWI. Veterans remembered the bright red wild poppies which grew and bloomed on the battle fields and graves of those men buried in the sacred plots of French, soil, known as Flanders Field. Soldiers of all nations came to look upon this flower as a living symbol of their dead comrades' sacrifice and a sign of hope and renewal for those who lived to remember."
Hospitalized veterans quickly learned to assemble poppies while healing and growing well again. Veterans assemble the poppies from supplied materials and earn a small "spiff" for each poppy made. For some of our veterans, this is their only source of income.
Every cent raised for poppy sales is returned to our veterans through the service programs of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Last year, through the generosity of the community of Tinley Park, we raised over $1900. That money was distributed equally amongst 19 veterans hospitals in Illinois.
Look for us today at the Oak Park Avenue train station, the 80th Avenue train station, the post office, Walt's. EuroFresh on Harlem and Walgreens on 171st & 84th Avenue.
We will be out again tomorrow at all of these locations except for Walts.
When you see us, please remember, your donation not only honors those who paid the ultimate price, but helps those who have served and their families.
Thank you to everyone who help us help our veterans.