American Legion Auxiliary distributing poppies for National Poppy Day

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 26 May 2022 at 5:36 pm

Provided photo: Karen Dawley gives out poppies in front of Walmart on May 21. Friday is being observed as National Poppy Day.

ALBION – May 27 is National Poppy Day, celebrated in countries around the world.

The American Legion brought the observance to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day, according to information from Cathy Fox, president of the Orleans County American Legion Auxiliary.

On May 21, Karen Dawley, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary of Sheret Post 35 in Albion, sat at Walmart giving out poppies.

National Poppy Day honors all United States service members, from the battlefields of France in World War I a century ago to today’s global war on terror. After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe and quickly became a symbol of the sacrifices made by Americans and Allied service members around the world.

Soldiers returning from World War I brought home the flowers in memory of the barren landscape transformed by the sudden growth of wild red poppies among the newly dug graves – unforgettably described in a memorial poem by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae – “In Flanders Fields.”

National Poppy Day broadens a tradition that dates back to the American Legion Auxiliary’s first national convention in the early 1920s, when the red poppy was adopted as the American Legion family’s memorial flower. Today, it remains an iconic symbol of honor.

Each year, the American Legion family distributes poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.