VFW Hands Out ‘Buddy Poppies’

| May 24, 2013
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Grocery shoppers in Carrollton will be greeted by small, red poppies on Friday and Saturday.  The Carrollton VFW Post 1773 is collection donations for disabled veterans at Mulch’s Country Mart.  Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Commander-elect Martin Rainey:

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“We’re trying to collect about $2,000 for the cause,” Rainey said.  “Although no financial contributions are necessary to receive a poppy, they are appreciated.  People can donate anything from a penny to one dollar.  We appreciate every bit of it.”

The Carrollton Post will accept donations until 6 p.m. Friday.  Members will set up again Saturday at 9:00 a.m.

The poppy is the official Veterans of Foreign Wars memorial  flower representing the blood shed by American military service members and reminds all of their sacrifices.  Since the 1920’s the Buddy Poppy program has continued to raise money for veterans in need of work or assistance.  The sale of poppies began in 1922 when VFW members sold them as part of a fundraising effort.  The theme was adopted from a popular poem, “In Flander’s Field” by John McCrae, during World War I. The poem begins, “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row …”

In Flander’s Field

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.

The VFW, founded in 1899, is the oldest major veterans’ organization with more than 1.7 million members.

Information from the Veterans of Foreign Wars

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.

The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation’s veterans.

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