National Poppy Day

National Poppy Day

National Poppy Day

Perhaps you’ve seen someone outside a store holding a small red flower and requesting a donation in exchange for the flower. Did you know this is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the American Legion as a way to support programs for veterans and military families?

This annual event is known as National Poppy Day, and this year it takes place on May 28. This fundraising tradition goes back to World War I and is not only a fundraiser, but a way to honor our veterans who have fought and died to protect our freedoms. The red poppy symbolizes the blood that was shed during battle, and the reason a poppy was chosen is because the flowers grew on the battlefields after World War I ended. This is described more fully in the famous World War One poem 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.

So, the next time you see a representative from the American Legion with their poppies requesting a donation, please support them. You now understand the significance of this flower and the ultimate sacrifice made our veterans. I was happy, and humbled, to make my donation this morning and receive my poppy.