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Sales of poppies honor and support veterans

Poppies like this one will be on sale from the women of the American Legion Auxiliary on May 19.

Each year the women of the American Legion Auxiliary spend some part of May selling poppies to support and remember the sacrifices of veterans.

This year that day will be on May 19, as these women are out and about with their flowers.

But the story behind the poppy as a commemoration is an interesting one; one steeped in history.

Colonel John McCrae and Moina Michael are two names which hardly create a ripple on the great sea of historical figures and yet from their compassion, the Canadian surgeon and a school teacher grew the idea of a memorial flower to commemorate the sacrifices made by young men and women who have answered the call in the time of wars.

As a military surgeon in France during World War I, each day Dr. McCrae saw the number of crosses marking those that had perished grow and he was impressed by the valor of the men around him. Inspired by the wild red poppies that sprung in the Fields of Flanders he compiled the poem "We Shall Not Sleep." The poem was later retitled "In Flanders Fields" and was published in the United States as a recruiting incentive for American young men to join the military branches.

In a magazine Michael read the touching words McCrae had composed and answered by compiling "We Shall Keep Faith."

On May 22, 1921, a movement instigated by Michael at the American Legion Auxiliarys organizing convention, the organization adopted the red poppy as their memorial flower.

Each year replicas of this flower are made by Veterans in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and care facilities all over the country.

The group is always hopeful that people in communities near and far will show patriotism and help veterans wherever they might be in need financially or psychologically.

Dignity for veterans is also a part of this drive.

This national event recognizes the contributions of generations of military men and women who are playing a vital role in engaging in wars and conflicts to keep America strong and secure.





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