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Letter: Poppies a symbol of sacrifice

Poppies remind us of the sacrifice of Veterans in anticipation of Memorial Day, we share this information about wearing the poppy.

The poppy is a worldwide symbol of sacrifice worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars.

It all started in 1918 when Moina Michael, an American woman, saw an article about John McCrae’s famous wartime poem: "In Flander’s fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row...

According to reports, she was inspired to try and make red poppies, the flower of remembrance.

Poppies were made and distributed; and the first distribution for donation of the red poppies to the public was by the Boy Scouts of America in 1919.

In 1920, Michael took a delegation from Georgia to the American Legion National Convention, where the poppy was adopted as the National Memorial flower of the American Legion. The auxiliary of the American Legion followed suit soon after, as did the VFW.

It continues today and provides many benefits to our Veterans and the community. Veterans make the poppies, earn a small wage and receive physical and mental activity that provides many therapeutic benefits.

About this time each year - close to Memorial Day - (May 13th this year in Park Rapids) Auxiliary volunteers with help from rest of the Legion Family (Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion and Legion Riders) distribute millions of the bright red poppies. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and families.

Most of all, the Poppy reminds the community of the continuing needs of our Veterans.

On this Memorial Day, let us say a silent prayer for those who did not come home and for those who did come home and are still struggling with the effects of the wars.

 Lavrene Johnson, Waite Park American Legion Auxiliary; Pat Cadreau, Secretary Unit 212 Park Rapids