Traditions originated from veterans' need

Older Persons Action Group and Senior Voice Alaska recognizes and honors veterans every day for their service to our nation. But on Veterans Day, November 11, special thanks are needed. A reprint from the VFW’s website on the origin of the well-known red poppy is appropriate for this edition.

Buddy Poppy

The VFW conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

During the 1923 encampment, the VFW decided that VFW “Buddy”® Poppies would be assembled by disabled and veterans in need, who would be paid for their work to provide them with financial assistance. The next year, disabled veterans at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh assembled VFW Buddy Poppies. The designation “Buddy Poppy” was adopted at that time.

In February 1924, the VFW registered the name Buddy Poppy with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and veterans in need. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name Buddy Poppy.

Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and veterans in need in VA Hospitals. The VFW Buddy Poppy program provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home For Children.

Veterans Day salute

For all veterans, young and old, their families and friends and a grateful nation, SALUTE. We are the fabric that binds this nation and I, for one, am grateful and humbled to have been a part of the military.

A public ceremony for the observance of Veterans Day will be hosted by the Alaska Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Alaska National Guard at JBER on Nov. 11, 2016, from 10:30 to noon.

Mike Dryden is a retired Army Major and current board member of Older Persons Action Group, Inc.

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