VFW Lilac Post 5815

Lombard, Illinois

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Buddy Poppy Day

Members of VFW Post 5815 and its Auxiliary normally distribute Buddy Poppies on one day during May each year.  The funds donated for the poppies are the main source of funding for the Post's programs throughout the year. 

The VFW first distributed poppies prior to Memorial Day 1922 and was the first veterans' organization to do so nationwide.  The VFW decided in 1923 that all Buddy Poppies were to be assembled by needy and disabled veterans whose pay for this work would provide some financial assistance to them. 

Since 1924 the VFW has held all trademark rights to the name "Buddy" in the classification of artificial flowers, and the VFW guarantees that all Buddy Poppies are made in the United States by disabled and needy veterans.

The money the VFW pays for the poppies provides compensation to the veterans who assemble them, 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.

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 Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1915.  The poem, "In Flander's Fields," describes blowing red fields among the battleground of the fallen.

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.

After the death of John McCrae on January 28, 1918, at age 45, in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, the poem "America’s Answer" by R.W. Lillard was published in the New York Evening Post:

America’s Answer
by R.W. Lillard

Rest ye in peace, ye Flanders dead!
The flight that ye so bravely led
We’ve taken up! And we will keep
True faith with you who lie asleep,
With each a cross to mark his bed,
And poppies blowing overhead
Where once his own life blood ran red!
So let your rest be sweet and deep
In Flanders fields.

Fear not that ye have died for naught,
The torch ye threw to us we caught!
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And Freedom’s light shall never die!
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders fields!

This page last updated July 27, 2020