Among all the flowers that evoke the memories and emotions of war is the red poppy, which became associated with war after the publication of a poem written by Col. John McCrae of Canada. The poem, "In Flander’s Field,” describes blowing red fields among the battleground of the fallen.
The VFW was the first veterans’ organization to adopt the poppy and develop a national distribution campaign. For more than 75 years, the VFW’s Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans’ welfare and the well being of their dependents.
Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled, needy and aging veterans in VA Hospitals and domiciles across the country and used by VFW Posts and their Auxiliaries to compensate the veterans who assemble the poppies. Donations also provide financial assistance to maintain state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs, and to partially support the VFW National Home for veterans’ orphans and widows.
Many Posts and Auxiliaries use Poppies to participate in the annual Poppy Display contest, which is judged at the State Convention. Winners advance to the National level. Posts can also donate left over Poppies to schools and retirement centers so students and seniors can use their patriotic creativity.
All Posts are encouraged to purchase ten Poppies per member every year to support veterans’ relief efforts and to educate the public about the Buddy Poppy.