VFW Buddy Poppy
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 Fields," describes billowing 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. From the
very beginning, Buddy Poppy has received the support of the Veterans Administration and the endorsement and cooperation of all presidents since Warren G. Harding.
Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled, needy and aging veterans in VA Hospitals and domiciliaries across the country
and are distributed by VFW Posts and their Ladies Auxiliaries. Donations received through the distribution of Buddy Poppies by the Ladies
Auxillary 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 orphans and widows of our nation's veterans.
"In Flander's Fields" describes a battlefield of crosses dotted with red poppies. The poem deeply touched the nation and the world, and,
from that point on, poppies became known throughout the world as a memorial flower, a reminder of the lives lost in wartime.
It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who
would be paid for their work to provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally adopted during the VFW's 1923
encampment. 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 US 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 needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.
In Flanders Fields
by: John McCrae, May 1915
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.