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.” Poppies were originally distributed by the Franco-American Children’s League to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium following WWI.
In 1922, VFW conducted a campaign and got Poppies from France. Members soon discovered it took too long to get the flowers in from France and they came up with a better idea. Disabled, hospitalized and aging veterans could make the paper flowers and ship them out to the members for distribution. And so it was known, for veterans in VA hospitals and domiciliaries and in state veterans homes, every day would be VFW Buddy Poppy Day. These men and women assemble the Poppies, tie them in bunches of 10 and pack them in boxes of 500, 1,000 or 2,000 for shipment to the Posts and Ladies auxiliaries.
VFW pays the disabled veteran for the work. In most cases, this extra money provides additional income for the worker to pay for the little luxuries, which make hospital life more tolerable. Furthermore, Poppy assembly is often used as a therapy program to provide exercise for fingers and hands crippled by wounds, disease and the effects of old age. Another reason Poppies are so important is because all proceeds from distribution are used for veterans welfare or for the well being of their needy dependents and the orphans of veterans. More than 2,100 children of veterans have been, or are being cared for in the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids, Mich., thanks to a portion of Poppy funds. As your Post’s Buddy Poppy Chairman, you need to build enthusiasm for this program. Reiterate to your fellow members the two-fold importance of Poppies. It’s truly all about veterans helping veterans and living up to VFW’s motto of “Honor the Dead by Helping the Living.”
In Flanders Fields
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.
There are many ways to Donate:
- Contact Us to find the nearest local post member or visit our post location.
- Donate by mail directly to our post (note ‘Donation’ on the memo line):
South Bay VFW Post 8300
330 Dunton Ave
East Patchogue, NY 11772
Learn More about the Poppy, its history and the impact the program has today: https://www.vfw.org/community/community-initiatives/buddy-poppy