Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Poppy facts: Do you know?
That in the spring of 1919, amidst complete devastation, the poppies bloomed in abundance on the battlefields of France where so many of our men had fallen in battle, and that a replica of this poppy has become the Memorial Flower of the American Legion Auxiliary.
That the American Legion was the first national organization to adopt the poppy as its Memorial Flower, having taken this action at the National Convention in Cleveland Sept. 27-29, 1920.
That the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its Memorial Flower at its organizing convention held in Kansas City in October of 1921.
That at the time that the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy, it pledged
100 percent of the profits from the poppy sales distribution to welfare relief for servicemen and servicewomen and their families, thus fulfilling the true meaning of the poppy, an emblem of faith; faith which is being kept with all who died through service to the living. That the American Legion Auxiliary, in order to protect the memorial poppy from the inroads of commercialism, adopted a national poppy program at the
St. Paul Convention in 1924, which eliminated the commercial poppy.
That the memorial poppies are made of red crepe paper, by hand, by disabled veterans in hospitals and poppy workrooms in 40 states, and that the workers receive pay for each poppy made, the material being furnished free by the department in the state in which the hospital is located.
That the more than 25,000,000 poppies made by disabled veterans are distributed on the streets under the supervision of the American Legion Auxiliary, by approximately 125,000 volunteer workers who receive no compensation.
That through the American Legion Auxiliary poppy program, more than $300,000 is paid annually to needy and disabled servicemen and servicewomen for making the poppies. That proceeds from more than 25,000,000 poppies amount to more than $2,000,000, every penny of which is devoted to Veterans Affairs and rehabilitation work by both the American Legion and Auxiliary, which includes aid to needy veterans and their families.
That the public is given an opportunity each year to help in this work and to commemorate those who died in service, by wearing a poppy on Poppy Day.
Please wear a poppy
"Please wear a Poppy," the lady said
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old and lined with care;
But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along on care-free feet.
His smile was full of joy and fun,
"Lady," said he, "May I have one."
"Why do we wear a Poppy today?"
The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered, "This is Remembrance Day,
And the Poppy there is the symbol for
The gallant men who died in war.
And because they did, you and I are free.
That's why we wear a poppy, you see.
"I had a boy abouyt your size,
With golden hair and big blue eyes
He loved to play and jump and shout.
As the years went by he learned and grew
And became a man, as you will, too."
"He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
But he'd seemed with us such a little while,
When war broke out and he went away.
I still remember his face that day
When he smiled at me and said "Goodby,
I'll be back soon, mom, so please don't cry."
"But the war went on and he had to stay,
And all I could do was wait and pray.
His letters told of the awful fight,
(I can still see it in my dreams at night.)
With tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire,
And the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.
"Til at last, at last, the war was won,
And that's why we wear a poppy son,"
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said, "Thanks, lady, I'm glad to know.
That sure did sound like an awful fight.
But your sonÐdid he come back all right?"
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
She shook her head, but didn't speak.
I slunk away in a sort of shame,
And if you were me you'd have done the same;
For our thanks, in giving, is oft delayed.
Though our freedom was boughtÐand thousands paid!
And so when we see a poppy worn,
Let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country's call
That we at home in peace might live,
Then wear a poppy! RememberÐand give!