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VFW Auxiliary to donate ‘Buddy Poppies'

By Tim Croft
The Star

The Buddy Poppy has for nearly 100 years been central to the Veterans of Foreign Wars community. 

The John V. Gainous Post 10069 Auxiliary will be marking Hurricane Michael and Veterans Day this year by distributing the Buddy Poppy. 

Buddy Poppy

The Auxiliary has already placed donation cans in local businesses and will be offering the poppies at the “Stronger than the Storm” event in Mexico Beach Oct. 10. 

The ladies will continue to place a Buddy Poppy at locations around Port St. Joe as Veterans Day approaches Nov. 11. 

For the VFW, the Buddy Poppy has played a critical role since 1922. 

The Poppy represents the blood shed by American Service Members and reiterates the VFW will not forget their sacrifices. 

The Poppy movement was inspired by the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae. 

It is recited each year at the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School Veterans Day program. 

Dating from World War I, it was McCrae’s reaction to the “row on row” of graves of soldiers who had died in Flanders’ battlefields. 

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly. 

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the dead. Short days ago 

We lived, felt dawn, saw the 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 we break faith with us who die 

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 

In Flanders Field.” 

That poem inspired an effort to bring Buddy Poppies to the United States, but availability soon proved an issue. 

A better idea was found. 

Why not have disabled, hospitalized and aging vets make poppies out of paper, bundle and ship them? 

They are packed 10 to a bunch, 500 to a box and 1,000-2,000 boxes for shipment to VFW Posts and Auxiliaries. 

VFW pays for the work and the poppy assembly is also a valued therapy tool. 

All proceeds from the distribution are used for veterans welfare or the wellbeing of needy dependents. 

For example, Poppy funds helped make possible the VFW National Home in Michigan where more than 1,300 children and veterans have been cared for. 

“Honor the Dead by Helping the Living.”