A poem written on May 3rd, 1915 by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae gave way to a popular program endorsed by the American Legion and V.F.W.

“In Flanders Fields” was first published on December 8th of that year. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the worlds most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. 

After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy.

On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion. Each year members of The American Legion Family distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.

The proceeds from the poppies can be used for the rehabilitation of veterans honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces. Funds are also used for the interest of the veterans, active military personnel and their families where financial and medical need is evident.

Poppy donations cannot be used for the general operating fund of a department, any community service project that does not strictly benefit the welfare of an individual veteran/military service member or their immediate family and dependents, or other American Legion Programs. 

Although that small red flower may not seem like much as first glance, it is a powerful little blossom. Your donation when picking up the Poppy is instrumental in the American Legion having the funds to assist veterans and their families. Every donation, no matter what the denomination, honors those who have served and enables the Legion to lend a hand in times of need. 

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