VFW To Pass Out Poppies This Weekend Ahead Of Veterans Day

Jennifer Keiper
November 08, 2019 - 9:24 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- You may see some red in a western suburb this weekend. Ahead of Veterans Day, some veterans and their supporters will be selling red poppies.

The red poppy is a symbol of sacrifice worn by Americans since World War I. It honors those who served and died for our country in all wars.

Batavia VFW Post 11-97 Commander Jay Davis said the red poppies given out are called Buddy Poppies and they are unique to the VFW, as they are assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals.

"What we have done over the years is distribute them to the community, we take donations, and then we use all of the proceeds to support needy veterans, their families, and for programs that directly assist veterans," Davis said.

WBBM Newsradio's Jennifer Keiper asked Davis how the red poppy became a symbol of sacrifice.

"The poppy's history stems from a poem that was written after a battle in Europe during World War I at a place called Flanders Fields, and after the battle, when the guns went silent, all that was there for this poet to see was the poppies in the field," Davis said.

Batavia VFW Post 11-97 will be distributing the poppies at the Woodman's in North Aurora through Sunday. On Saturday, the group will have a special guest:  Marine Corps veteran Wayne Stevens.  He has neuropathy in his legs, which kept him from driving. 

With the help of a GoFundMe page and money from post 11-97's Buddy Poppy collections, he now has equipment making it possible for him to drive using his hands, rather than his feet.

You can read the poppy poem below:

In Flanders Fields

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 fields.