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. Handmade crepe paper poppies will be available for a donation.
Members of the Great Bend’s American Legion and Auxiliary will be in front of both Dillons stores and Walmart from 1:30-5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, to accept donations and hand out the poppies. Then, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, they will be in front of Walmart and at 9 a.m. they will be in front of Orscheln Farm & Home Supply, Waters True Value Hardware, Sutherlands and both Dillons stores. They will be in front of Walmart again at noon on Sunday, May 26, if they still have some of the 3,000 poppies, said Marianne Krallman. She is a co-chair of this year’s Poppy Program along with Jeannie Munsch.
National Poppy Day
Friday, May 24, is National Poppy Day. Although the American Legion tradition of wearing poppies dates to 1920, it was only in 2017 that the American Legion Family asked Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day at National Poppy Day.
“National Poppy Day is a strong renewal of our nation’s commitment to a powerful reminder of the cost of freedom,” sponsors said. “Show your love May 24 on social media by using the hashtags #poppyday and #LegionFamily.”
Flanders Field poppies
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 handcraft 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. 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.
Learn more online at www.ALAforVeterans.org. The local auxiliary Unit 180 is on Facebook at Kansas American Legion Auxiliary Unit 180.
In Flanders Fields
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.
— Lt. Col. John McCrae