Since 1921, the red poppy has been the official flower of The American Legion Auxiliary who support veterans, military and their families.
Most Americans know the red poppy is a solemn symbol of sacrifice made by U.S. service members killed in the line of duty and is worn in tribute to our fallen heroes. The distribution of the bright red memorial flower to the public is one of the oldest and most widely recognized programs of the American Legion Auxiliary.
The American Legion family of Boothbay region will distribute hundreds of red crepe paper poppies beginning in May. The poppies were handmade by a former Auxiliary member Dale Keyes. Poppy distribution, in exchange for donations, occurs year-round with a great emphasis on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and National Poppy Day which is the Friday before Memorial Day. Donations are used to support local veterans/families facing difficult times.
To elevate community awareness and respect, poppies will be available at the American Legion Breakfasts which are held Sundays, twice a month from 7 to 9 a.m. Local businesses will also participate in displaying bouquets of poppies for distribution. Chamber of Commerce, Bath Savings, Grover’s, Pinkham’s Seafood, Nathan’s Pharmacy, East Boothbay General Store, Coastal Maine Popcorn, St. Andrews Thrift Shop, Sweet Bay, First Federal, Dunkin Donuts, Good ’N You, Cutting Edge, Jansen’s, Brady’s, Sherman’s and Marseilles.
“In Flanders Fields” is a war poem written during the First World War by Lt. Col. John McCraw. It was written on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend who died during the Second Battle of Ypres. The symbol of the poppy is taken from a line in the poem. Weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil.
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.