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Posted at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2013

Poem inspires veteran support, remembrance

In Flanders Field

By John McCrae

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 field.

The poem “In Flanders Field,” by Colonel John McCrae speaks in remembrance of fallen soldiers buried in Flanders Field cemetery in Belgium. Written during World War I, the poem has since inspired the creation of the “Buddy” poppy, a symbol of those who have fallen while serving their country.

McCrae was a surgeon with Canada’s First Brigade Artillery in France and Belgium in 1915, where he saw the massive number of graves and crosses fill the battlefield. The white crosses marking the dead were met with contrast from the red-orange of blooming poppies.

The poem inspired two women, Anna E. Guerin, of France, and Moina Michael, of the U.S., to start the production and distribution of paper poppies. The first sale occurred in the U.S. in 1920; the VFW adopted it as its official memorial flower in 1922, and in 1924 the VFW patented the “Buddy” poppy.

When the original French manufacturers experienced a shortage in poppies, the idea was to have veterans who were unemployed or disabled make the poppies. Currently, veterans at Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities and veteran homes assemble the flowers. They are distributed by veteran service organization volunteers across the country.

The poppies are given, not sold. Donations are accepted and are used to help veterans and veteran families. Visit vfw.org for more information on donating to the nation’s veterans.  

In Cheyenne, three VFW posts, Post 4343, Post 1881 and Post 11453, distribute poppies, which can be picked up on request. If one was interested in donating, posts take donations on site.

Post 4343 is located at 3216 S. Greeley Highway and can be contacted at 307-632-0950. Post 1881 is located at 2816 E. Seventh St. and can be contacted at 307-638-8886. Post 11453 is located at 5522 Murray Hill Drive and can be contacted at 307-256-8463.

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