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American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Days

posted May 13, 2014, 12:33 PM by Penny McCarthy

May 14-16 the Auxiliary members will be taking donations for Poppies in front of Coastal Ranch & Supply and Bi-Mart.  Please support their mission to help our hospitalized veterans and their families.

Remembrance Poppies Made by War Veterans

The Auxiliary to the American Legion was an organization founded in 1919 to support The American Legion. It was for women who wanted to devote their voluntary services to veterans and young people. The first convention of the Auxiliary took place in September 1921 and delegates agreed to adopt the red poppy as the memorial flower for the organization.

The delegates at the convention also agreed that disabled American war veterans could make their own poppies to be sold within the United States. The Auxiliary believed that US veterans making their own poppies could generate much needed income for disabled and unemployed veterans who had no other means of earning money. The Auxiliary provided all the material for the artificial poppies and had it pre-cut to form easily into individual flowers. The Auxiliary paid a penny for each poppy that was made.

Moina Michael was very pleased with this development. According to her there was a feeling in America that so many returning servicemen did not have jobs and that they could themselves benefit from making and selling poppies. These men had done their bit for France and now they needed to provide food, shelter and clothing for their own families.(7)

The American Legion Auxiliary continues its work to support veterans and promotes the wearing of a red poppy on the annual Memorial Day observed in May in the United States. Paper poppies are handmade by veterans who are paid for them.

The Buddy Poppy Factory, U.S.A.

Following the distribution of the red French-made poppies for Madame Guérin in 1922, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization formally agreed in 1923 that American veterans of the Great War could also benefit from making and selling the red Memorial Poppy.

From 1924 disabled ex-servicemen started making poppies at the “Buddy Poppy” factory in Pittsburgh. The name “Buddy Poppy” was registered as a U.S. Patent in February 1924. In the following May a certificate was issued to grant trademark rights to the VWF for the manufacture of genuine “Buddy Poppies”.

Since the 1920s the “Buddy Poppy” program has continued to raise money for the welfare and support of veterans and their dependants. There are now 11 locations where the “Buddy Poppies” are made by disabled and needy veterans. Some 14 million “Buddy Poppies” are distributed each year in the United States.

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