On Saturday members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 163 and volunteers from RSVP and the community will be distributing poppies at businesses around North Platte to honor veterans.

The distribution of poppies is a longstanding national tradition that started with a single woman’s desire to honor fallen American soldiers from World War I, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae. The poem describes the poppy fields that sprang up across the barren landscape left by the war’s battles.

In 1920 Moira Michael spearheaded a campaign that led to the poppy being adopted as the national symbol of sacrifice. The American Legion adopted the poppy as its symbol to honor all veterans. The American Legion Auxiliary began the poppy distribution tradition in 1924 to honor veterans, earmarking all donations collected to go to veterans assistance programs.

The crepe paper poppies are made by disabled and hospitalized veterans for this program as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation.

National Poppy Day will be observed May 24. The American Legion Auxiliary invites everyone to wear a poppy Saturday and again on the May 24 to honor our veterans, both past and present.

Anyone interested in helping to distribute poppies Saturday can contact the RSVP office at 308-535-6777.

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