To the Editor:
The month of May is considered Poppy month to the American Legion and it is important to understand the history behind this program. In 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its memorial flower and instituted the Poppy Program in 1924.
In World War I, the poppy was used as a symbol of freedom and stood for the blood that was sacrificed by troops in wartime. You may recall the poem In Flanders Fields that begins, “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row”. That line of the poem is referring to the poppies that started to grow in the churned -up earth of the newly dug graves of the soldiers that fought in parts of Belgium and France. This poem was written in 1915 by Lt. Col. John McCrae after he witnessed the death of his friend who was a fellow soldier.
The Chatham American Legion Auxiliary Post 42 members usually stand in front of area businesses to collect donations and hand out poppies to remember the sacrifices that our men and women soldiers have made for us and continue to make for us. Although we have not been able to collect donations the same way as we have in the past, members have been asking for donations from family, friends and neighbors. These donations are used to benefit and support veterans in need.
Displaying a poppy, whether it be on your shirt, in your car or in your home, is just one way to honor our men and women soldiers.
This past year has been hard on everyone due to the pandemic, our recent war. Hug your family and friends if you can and keep them close. As we approach Memorial Day, please don’t forget the sacrifices that are being made for us today so we may live in freedom.
Please consider donating to your local American Legion and American Legion Auxiliaries who continue to support veterans in need. It is greatly appreciated.
Chatham American Legion Post 42