As we go into the Memorial Day weekend, Indianapolis-based American Legion encourages everyone to wear a red poppy on Friday.
Dubbie Buckler, executive director of the American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters, says the red poppy memorializes those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
“It began as a tradition to honor those who died in World War I," Buckler says. "The poppy seeds had laid fallow in the fields over in Europe after about a couple of weeks these red poppies just started blooming so these newly dug grave sites became a sea of red poppies.”
Poppy’s will be distributed in communities around Indiana, including Indianapolis.
“Our national headquarters staff actually make this a service project ourself," Buckler says. "We will be downtown just prior to the memorial service distributing poppies as well.”
And there is no charge for the poppies.
"A lot of people say we are out selling poppies, and we don’t. We distribute them for donations; and we hope some of the people will grab some of the folding money to put in there because 100 percent every dollar raised through poppy distributions and across the country every year -- that’s between $5 and $6 million -- every dollar of that goes back to help veterans in need in our local communities,” Buckler says.
The American Legion brought Poppy Day to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day.