"In Flanders fields the poppies blow..."
These are the opening words of Col. John McCrae's immortal poem dedicated to the memory of the men and women who served, fought and died in France during World War I, the Poppies of which he wrote have become the true symbol of all those who have given their lives in our nations wars.
Today, Buddy Poppies are distributed by Posts and Auxiliaries of the VFW in every state of the union and in dozens of other countries. Some 14 million are distributed annually; most of them during the period preceding Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but many of them at other times of the year.
More than 11 million dollars is raised each year through the distribution of Buddy Poppies -- all of it strictly accounted for and dedicated entirely to veterans welfare.
Under the unique VFW distribution system, the proceeds of the distribution are divided between national, state, and local charitable purposes.
When you drop a donation in a Poppy cannister...
you have contributed to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for children of deceased or disabled veterans at Eaton Rapids, MI ... to the National VFW Rehabilitation Service in Washington, D.C. ... to the VFW Rehabiliation Service in our own state of Georgia ... and to direct assistance programs for needy and disabled veterans and active service members and their families in our own community.
How Can So Little Do So Much?
The person from whom you received your Poppy is a volunteer. Their supervisor is a volunteer and the people who helped organize the distribution are volunteers. Their only pay is the satisfaction which comes from devoting time and effort to a worthy cause.
However, there is someone who DOES get paid. The disabled veteran who assembled the Poppy from the original parts receives a nominal sum for their work. The amount is small, but it does help them buy the little luxuries which make hospital life tolerable and it does permit them to purchase a gift now and then for their loved ones at home.
When you are handed a "Buddy Poppy," give generously. You can find canisters all around the Post.
And when you wear your Poppy, do it proudly.
And when you see VFW and Auxiliary volunteers working in veterans hospitals, visiting the sick and helping them with their problems, give them a word of greeting.