POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Buy a Poppy for a Disabled Vet

by David Trumbull

May 22, 2009

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.

—John McCrae (1872-1918)

Each year I see fewer and fewer men on the street wearing remembrance poppies on Memorial Day, since 1971 celebrated on the last Monday in May. One year I couldn’t even find anyone selling “Buddy Poppies,” the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans.

For more than 75 years, the VFW's Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans’ welfare and the well being of their dependents. According to the VFW, the name “Buddy Poppy” is registered with the U.S. Patent Office. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name “Buddy” Poppy.

When you buy your Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day you will be giving material aid to a disabled veteran. And when you wear your Buddy Poppy you will remind everyone who sees you of the meaning of Memorial Day.

The American Legion also sells crepe paper poppies for Memorial Day. That is another fine organization worthy of your support.

Although the United States Department of Veterans Affairs states “The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day” many of us do join our friends from the British Commonwealth nations in wearing the red poppy of remembrance on November 11th as well.

This Memorial Day remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to cause of liberty.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]