Constant Reminder

May declared Memorial Poppy Awareness Month

A host of Legion and Legion Auxiliary members from Crawfordsville Post 72 join Mayor Todd Barton, center, in the reading of the proclamation of May as Memorial Poppy Awareness Month, including Cindy Biddle, from left, Kristi Byers, Rosemary Hutchinson, Auxiliary President Carol Roberts, Bonita Clement, Linn Hutchinson and Dale Wilson. The purpose of National Poppy Day, officially dedicated by the U.S. in 1921 following World War I, is to honor all veterans of the armed forces, and their families, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the unique freedoms Americans enjoy daily.
A host of Legion and Legion Auxiliary members from Crawfordsville Post 72 join Mayor Todd Barton, center, in the reading of the proclamation of May as Memorial Poppy Awareness Month, including Cindy Biddle, from left, Kristi Byers, Rosemary Hutchinson, Auxiliary President Carol Roberts, Bonita Clement, Linn Hutchinson and Dale Wilson. The purpose of National Poppy Day, officially dedicated by the U.S. in 1921 following World War I, is to honor all veterans of the armed forces, and their families, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the unique freedoms Americans enjoy daily.
Nick Wilson/Journal Review
Posted

The month of May shall forever be known as Memorial Poppy Awareness Month in Crawfordsville, Mayor Todd Barton officially declared Wednesday at City Hall.

The poppy and its many benefits mirror the sacrifices made by so many Americans and their allies while in military service, protecting the freedoms every American holds dear, Barton said when reading aloud the official proclamation.

“The poppy serves as a constant reminder to honor the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives during their time of service. The numerous contributions and benefits the poppy has provided, and the wellbeing of our courageous veterans and their families, shall not go unnoticed,” Barton read. “The city is cognizant of the relentless sacrifices our heroes in uniform have made. Our daily standard of living is not possible without these valiant individuals.”

The Auxiliary uses funds raised through National Poppy Day and other annual fundraisers to show veterans there is someone out there who cares not only about their sacrifice, but about them, personally. Members regularly visit veterans in need, delivering monetary donations and heartfelt feelings of gratitude.

“A week from Friday is National Poppy Day because the Flanders Fields were blooming with poppies in World War I, with dead soldiers laying in the fields,” Auxiliary President Carol Roberts said. “All day long [May 27] we will be in front of Kroger passing out these poppies. We don’t sell them. They are for donation. Some people donate, some don’t, some don’t want a poppy, but they donate.”

The poppy was immortalized in canon by Canadian poet Lt. Col. John McCrae in his poem “In Flanders Fields,” written during the Great War in 1915 following the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lt. Alexis Helmer who died in the Second Battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium that year.

The American Legion adopted the red paper poppy as a tool to raise awareness in 1919; in 1921, the U.S. officially declared the Friday before Memorial Day (May 27 this year) as National Poppy Day.

It is with this sentiment of gratitude and care that Auxiliary members visit the veterans of today. One commonly visited site is the Indiana Veterans Home in Lafayette.

“My niece, she worked up there, and she said, ‘There’s a veteran up here, Aunt Bonnie, he doesn’t have any family. Can you come visit him?’ So I went up there. He was so appreciative,” member Bonita Clement said Wednesday. “That’s what we do at the Legion. We help our veterans with anything they need.”

There will be several donation jars placed throughout the city in the days leading up to May 27. Each depicts a battle scene reflecting Flanders Fields, complete with a field of grass, a soldier figurine and, of course, a red paper poppy to memorialize the dismal but powerful scene in Belgium witnessed by both Allied and Axis powers.

“This is a remembrance day to honor the veterans, but you don’t have to make a donation to get a poppy,” member Rosemary Hutchinson said. “Everybody can have a poppy.”

To learn more about National Poppy Day, visit www.legion-aux.org and www.legion.org. Online donations for veterans also can be made through the sites.

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