Saturday, May 27, 2006
Memorial Day '06: We Remember
On this special day we remember those who gave their lives that we might live free...
How many of you know the story behind the Buddy Poppies that are seen everywhere in the Spring? My first recollection of these bright red paper flowers is from when I was a small child, and in the Spring my grandpa would always buy me a handful of the poppies and tell me that they were special flowers to help special people.
I didn't understand then, the way that I do now.
'The red poppy became associated with war after the publication of a poem by Canadian war veteran, Colonel John McCrae titled, "In Flanders Fields".
The VFW conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans' organization 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.
It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally adopted during the VFW's 1923 encampment. The next year, disabled veterans at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh assembled VFW Buddy Poppies. The designation "Buddy Poppy" was adopted at that time.
In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee 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.
Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals.'
(Info taken from VFW Official Website)
As a child, I didn't understand the symbolism of these simply crafted red flowers. I only knew that my grandpa told me they were very special. Grandpa was a veteran, having served in World War II, so I guess he knew what he was talking about. I lost my grandpa several years ago, but every Spring when I see the brilliantly red poppies, I think of him, and of all those who have given so much for me and for you.
To learn more -- click on the VFW or the Buddy Poppy Program
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
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.