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Poppy day

By Staff | May 17, 2010

The familiar little red flower will be popping up soon in Rugby.

The American Legion Auxiliary volunteers will distribute the familiar red, handcrafted poppies honoring America’s war dead on May 27, designated as Poppy Day by the Auxiliary of Clarence Larson Post #23 in Rugby.

The annual event pays tribute to those veterans who have died in service to their country. It also honors the millions of Americans who have served their country over the years.

Each nine-piece poppy is made by veterans for veterans in auxilliary-spnosored Poppy Shops that supplement physical and psychological therapy needed by hospitalized and disabled veterans. The auxiliary provides the materials and the volunteers. The veterans who make the poppies are paid a small amount for their efforts.

The local auxilitary will be distributing the poppies in Rugby in exchange for a contribution.

The Poppy program has been part of the auxiliary programming for more than 70 years. It has been estimated that approximately 25 million Americans wear the poppy to honor America’s war dead and all veterans, contributing over $2 millon for rehabilitation and welfare programs.

The red poppy became associated with war after the publication of a poem written by Col. John McCrae of Canada. The poem, “In Flander’s Field,” describes red fields of poppies blowing among the battlegrounds of the fallen during World War I.

The American Legion Auxiliary credits Moina Michael with establishing the tradition of honoring war dead with poppies. She was so moved by Col. McCrae’s poem in 1918 that, on impulse, she purchased a bouquet of poppies and handed them to businessmen at the New York YMCA where she worked asking them to wear them as a tribute to the fallen. Later, she would spearhead a campaign that would result in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

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