Remembrance poppies slated to be distributed

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 5/24/19

Members of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 81, are reminding local residents it's time to wear a poppy.Today — Friday, May 24 — is National Poppy Day in America, sponsored by the American …

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Remembrance poppies slated to be distributed

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Members of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 81, are reminding local residents it's time to wear a poppy.

Today — Friday, May 24 — is National Poppy Day in America, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.

Every year, from its inception in 1920, the auxiliary has distributed poppies to honor veterans and their sacrifices for our freedom.

From the battlefields of World War I, weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies in Europe, red as the blood that soaked the soil. By that miracle of nature, the spirit of their lost comrades lived on after that war. The poppy became a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war, and represented the hope that none had died in vain.

Milliions of people worldwide wear a poppy to remember those who lost their lives, and to honor living veterans.

Veteran and auxiliary member Mary Baier is the chairwoman for the auxiliary's poppy distribution in Cleveland and Bradley County. She said local distributions will be held Saturday at Tractor Supply at 2750 Keith Street N.W., and on Monday at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony on the front steps of the Bradley County Courthouse.

She emphasized this is an opportunity to show support of local veterans by stepping up to donate, and to pick up a poppy to wear through Memorial Day on Monday.

More poppy facts:

• After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed during the battles, following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lt. Col. Dr. John McCrae, while serving on the front lines.

• On Sept 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.

• Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, each year members distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.

• Poppy Day is celebrated in countries around the world, and in Bradley County this weekend.

• The American Legion brought National Poppy Day  to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day National Poppy Day.


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