In the early 1920s, the poppy was adopted by the American Legion as its official memorial flower to honor World War I veterans and is used to this day to honor veterans of all past conflicts. The ladies of Webster’s American Legion Auxiliary Unit 96 will have the iconic flowers available outside local businesses through Memorial Day.
The Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day – May 24 this year -- as National Poppy Day. Poppies are never sold; they are given away, and donations are welcome.
The poppy fundraiser is one of several the ALA conducts all year. Poppy donations must be used only for veterans for such things as comfort items, fishing trips, and pocket flags for veterans overseas. Funds from other sales are used for scholarships, Badger State, and military appreciation activities.
After the battles were fought in WWI, blood red poppies flourished in France and Belgium when battlefields became burial grounds. Poppy seeds can lie dormant for years yet bloom brilliantly when the soil is disturbed or freshly dug.
The red flowers flourished among the newly dug graves of fallen service members, turning the graveyards into fields of red. The poem In Flanders Fields was composed by WWI Col. John McCrae in his sorrow at looking at rows and rows of graves where his comrades recently had been buried.