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Honor Veterans with American Legion Poppies

Members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 180 and the American Legion Post 180 family in Great Bend invite the public to honor our fallen warriors and contribute to the continuing needs of our veterans by wearing a red poppy for Memorial Day. Let every American wear a memorial poppy and let everyone pause, if only for a moment, on Memorial Day, to honor those who have given their lives that we may be free. Handmade crepe paper poppies will be available for a donation.

The American Legion Family National Poppy Day is Friday, May 24, to honor the fallen and support the living veterans who have worn our nation’s uniform. Poppy Day was designated in 2018. The red poppy is a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I to honor those who served and died for our country in all wars. 

It reminds Americans of the sacrifices made by our veterans while protecting our freedoms. On Sept. 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion Family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.

Members of Great Bend’s American Legion Auxiliary Unit 180 and the American Legion Post 180 family will be in front of Walmart, North and South Dillon’s, Sutherlands and Bomgaars on Friday, May 24. Then on Saturday, May 25, they will be in front of Walmart, North and South Dillon’s, Bomgaars and Perkins to accept donations and hand out the 3,000 poppies, said Marianne Krallman. She is a co-chair of this year’s Poppy Program along with Jeannie Munsch.

The Flanders Field poppy has become an internationally known and recognized symbol of the lives sacrificed in war and the hope that none died in vain. “Wear the poppy this Memorial Day weekend to honor and remember our fallen warriors who willingly served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Krallman said. “We must never forget.”

The poppy also honors hospitalized and disabled veterans who hand craft many of the red, crepe paper flowers. Making the poppies provides a financial and therapeutic benefit to the veterans, as well as a benefit to thousands of other veterans and their families through the donations collected.

In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed of war.

Replicas of poppies were first distributed in other countries following the end of World War I, and were inspired by the poem “in Flanders Fields,” written by Col. John McCrane of Canada in 1915 during World War I. In 1918, Moina Michael popularized the idea of wearing the red poppy in memory of the lives lost in World War I. In 1920 the poppy became the official flower of the American Legion Auxiliary to memorialize soldiers who fought and died during the war. Connecting the visual image of the poppy with the sacrifice of service made by our veterans has been an important goal of the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program since its inception in 1921. The Poppy Program raises community awareness and respect for veterans by educating the public about the symbol of the poppy, taken from a line in the poem.

About the Auxiliary

American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of more than $3.1 billion. As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, ALA volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.

To learn more about the ALA’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join visit us www.ALA for The local auxiliary Unit 180 is on Facebook at Kansas American legion Auxiliary Unit 180.