Members of the American Legion Auxiliary will continue a nearly 100-year tradition on Saturday as they take up spots in front of area businesses to distribute paper poppies.
Poppy Day began when a woman decided to honor the country’s fallen in 1918, just a few days before the Armistice was declared. Moina Michael had read the poem “In Flanders Field” and was inspired by the piece, which talks about the poppy fields that soldiers saw during World War I.
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Michael went out and bought a bouquet of poppies to hand out to businessmen at a YMCA she worked at in New York City. Eventually, she spearheaded the campaign that resulted in the poppy being adopted as the national symbol of sacrifice.
In 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary began its Poppy Program and every year since then members across the country have handed out red crepe paper poppies made by veterans in exchange for donations that assist other veterans.
For local Auxiliary president, Ellen Warath, Poppy Day is important because it helps veterans in the area and honors those who have died.
“It’s an honor to our soldiers — those that have passed on and those that are still with us,” Warath said. “It’s an honor to support them as a citizen.”
Individuals who’d like to help out by handing out poppies can contact Warath at 308-520-9784.