The Menominee American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit 146, and Poppy chairpersons, Evelyn Koutnik and Jane Raygo, announce the launch of National Poppy Days in the City of Menominee. The distribution of red poppies by ALA members in exchange for a free-will donation will take place on May 17, 18, and 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Jack’s Fresh Market, and K-Mart.
The Poppy Story stems from the battlefields of western Belgium, and northern France during World War I. The weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by a sudden growth of wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil amid the ravages of war. It was a miracle of nature that the spirit of lost comrades lived on. The poppy became a symbol of the sacrifice of lives lost in war, and represented the hope that none had died in vain. The ALA has continued to bloom for the casualties of four wars, and its petals of paper bound together for veterans by veterans, reminding America each year that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserve to be remembered.
The poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, can be traced to a single individual, Moina Michael, a schoolteacher, also known as the “Poppy Lady”. Moina became inspired by a war poem entitled, “In Flanders Field” (1915) written by Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCrae. Since there was a need for financial, and occupational assistance, for disabled veterans, she lobbied the American Legion to have veterans assemble poppies for distribution to raise community awareness.
The ALA adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in 1921, and in 1924 instituted the National Poppy Program, as a symbol of sacrifice, and to protect the memorial poppy from becoming commercialized. The ALA poppy program helps our veterans in two ways. Those who make the poppies as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation to attain new movement, and skills, and the disabled and hospitalized veterans benefit from the monetary donations collected. The contributions to the poppy fund assist, and support veterans and their families.