As the month of May draws to a close, many individuals’ minds turn toward heroes of days past, family outings and poppies.
The story behind the American Legion Auxiliary and their annual selling of poppies, however, is one that deserves its own time in the limelight.
The American Legion Auxiliary itself was formed in 1919. In the near 100 years since its inception, the organization has grown to include wives, daughters, mothers and other female relations of veterans in various conflicts.
The organization has grown to include over 9,000 local units located in the U.S. and 11 foreign countries. The auxiliary is known for its community service, scholarships, girls state program and poppy sales.
The auxiliary began to sell poppies in the 1920s after the flower was named the American Legion Family’s memorial flower.
The poppy’s symbolic stance, however, took its deep root after WWI. The small, red flower began to thrive in Europe after the end of the conflict where many American soldiers were impressed by the European landscape that was transformed under the blanket of flowers that masked the graves of various troops.
Soldiers brought home poppies in remembrance of the conflict, after which the auxiliary began selling them to wear in support of those who have served the nation.
Flowers will be distributed on this year’s National Poppy Day, Friday May 26, at Smith’s Food and Drug at 1075 East Main Street in Price.