POST-GAZETTE Res Publica
Buy a Poppy for a Disabled Vet
by David Trumbull -- May 25, 2012
Each year I see fewer and fewer men on the street wearing remembrance poppies on Memorial Day, since 1971 celebrated on the last Monday in May. One year I couldn’t even find anyone selling Buddy Poppies, the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans.
Ninety years ago, before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW conducted its first poppy distribution, thus becoming the first veterans' group to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
In 1924 the VFW registered with the U.S. Patent Office the trademark right to the name Buddy Poppy. The VFW guarantees that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name Buddy Poppy.
When you buy your Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day you will be giving material aid to a disabled veteran. And when you wear your Buddy Poppy you will be, to everyone who sees you, a reminder of the meaning of Memorial Day.
The American Legion also sells crepe paper poppies for Memorial Day. That is another fine organization worthy of your support.
Although the United States Department of Veterans Affairs states “The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day” many of us do join our friends from the British Commonwealth nations in wearing the red poppy of remembrance on November 11th as well.
This Memorial Day remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to cause of liberty.
In Flanders fields the poppies grow
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.
—John McCrae (1872-1918)