Story of the VFW “Buddy” Poppy

Monday, November 7, 2022

Our local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) will be at the Shoreline Fred Meyer on Friday -Saturday, Nov 11-12, 9:30am-5:30pm, accepting donations for Buddy Poppies.


Photo by Jon Ann Cruver

A poem is dedicated to the memory of those men and women who fought and died for the USA. The “Buddy” Poppy has become the true symbol honoring all those veterans who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.

Since 1922, the VFW has offered “Buddy” Poppies in exchange for donations to raise funds for its charitable programs on behalf of needy and disabled veterans, and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans.

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

--Colonel John McCrae


In April of 1915, a battle-weary Canadian soldier (Colonel John McCrae) viewed the final resting place of thousands of young men (some his former buddies) who had fallen in the 2nd Battle of Ypres in Belgium. Despondently he contemplated the rows of hastily dug graves --- each marked by a lonely white cross.

In sudden revelation, he heard the singing of larks in the sky, and amid the graves he saw patches of red, wild, poppies --- struggling through the battle-torn soil and the graves to bring their message of life amongst death.

Inspired, Colonel John McCrae sat down and penned three short verses --- his poem “In Flanders Fields.” His published poem brought a message of confidence to millions of people --- establishing the Flanders “Buddy” Poppy as the symbol of faith and hope in a war-torn world.

Colonel McCrae’s poem has survived in print and in the hearts and minds of generations. The Poppies which provided his inspiration still bloom in Flanders Fields --- their message of hope has become reality through the VFW Buddy Poppy.

Every year, more than 13 million people donate for and wear a VFW Buddy Poppy to honor veterans. The VFW Buddy Poppies are made by patients in veterans’ hospitals in the USA. 

The work provides needed therapy for hands and minds crippled by the ravages of war, and the pay earned provides a few simple luxuries to ease the boredom of hospital life.

In keeping with its pledge “No one does more for veterans”, Buddy Poppy events are conducted exclusively by volunteers from VFW Posts --- the VFW uses the proceeds to fund aid and assistance to disabled/needy service male/female veterans, homeless veterans and widows/orphans of deceased veterans.


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