November is a month to remember veterans and during this month every year, VFW Post 3111 of Great Bend raises money by taking donations for Buddy Poppies. Members of the post stand outside of local business to raise this money for veterans and on Oct. 29, Great Bend Mayor Joe Andrasek signed a proclamation for VFW Post 3111 designating one week in November as the official Buddy Poppy Days.
“We are excited about the mayor signing a proclamation for Buddy Poppy Days,” VFW Post 3111 Commander Laforest Bodine said. “Buddy Poppies are important to us, they are made by veterans and the money raised goes back into helping veterans.”
According to the VFW, before Memorial Day in 1922, the Veterans of Foreign Wars conducted its first poppy distribution, 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, as it remains today.
During our 1923 encampment, the VFW decided that VFW “Buddy” Poppies would be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with financial assistance. 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.
Today, Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals.
The VFW Buddy Poppy program 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 Children.
Buddy Poppy history
According to VFW Auxiliary, since 1922, the Buddy Poppy has been an integral part of the VFW community. As VFW’s official memorial flower, the Poppy represents the blood shed by American service members. It reiterates that VFW will not forget their sacrifices.
The Poppy movement was inspired by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields.” It describes blowing red fields among the battleground of the fallen.
Poppies were originally distributed by the FrancoAmerican Children’s League to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium following World War I. Today, they benefit both veterans, and children of veterans.