I Got My Buddy Poppy Yesterday;
Our Vets Make Them, For Memorial Day
“In Flanders fields, the poppies grow,
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.”
This poem was penned by Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery, expressing his utter grief over the row upon row of his fellow soldiers’ graves who had fallen on Flanders' battlefields.
His poetic words presented a striking image of the bright red poppy flowers blooming among the many grave markers in Flanders, and they soon became a rallying cry to all who fought in World War I.
In 1922, The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) adopted the Poppy as its official Memorial Day Flower of Remembrance, and this soon led to the idea to use unemployed and disabled veterans to produce poppies.
The first artificial poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh in 1924, and this endeavor provided a practical means of assistance to our veterans, and it also ensured a steady reliable source of Memorial Day poppies.
Today, veterans at VA hospitals and veterans homes all across the country help assemble these artificial poppies, and each year the VFW distributes over 14 million of them.
The VFW also registered the name ‘Buddy Poppy’ with the U.S. Patent Office. The term ‘Buddy’ was coined by these veteran poppy makers as a tribute to their fallen comrades who never came home.
Profits from these Memorial Day Buddy Poppy sales have helped countless veterans, widows, widowers, and orphans over the years, and the red poppy itself survives today as a perpetual tribute to those who have so valiantly given their all, for all of us.
Please Buy, and Wear,
A Buddy Poppy,
This Memorial Day Weekend.