In Flanders fields the poppies grow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place: and in the sky The larks still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw 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 ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. —John McCrae (1872-1918)
Each year I see fewer and fewer men on the street wearing remembrance poppies on Memorial Day, since 1971 celebrated on the last Monday in May. One year I couldn't even find anyone selling "Buddy Poppies," the paper replica flowers that the Veterans of Foreign Wars sell to raise money for disabled veterans.
For more than 80 years, the VFW's Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans' welfare and the well being of their dependents. In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.
When you buy your Buddy Poppy to wear this Memorial Day you will be giving material aid to a disabled veteran. And when you wear your Buddy Poppy you will remind everyone who sees you of the meaning of Memorial Day.
The American Legion also sells crepe paper poppies for Memorial Day. That is another fine organization worthy of your support.
Although the United States Department of Veterans Affairs states "The wearing of poppies in honor of America's war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day, not Veterans Day" many of us do join our friends from the British Commonwealth nations in wearing the red poppy of remembrance on November 11th as well. (Speaking of the British, this year America's Memorial Day falls on the same day as the Spring Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom.)
This Memorial Day remember those who gave the last full measure of devotion to cause of liberty.