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Create a ‘Poppy Day’ activity in time for Memorial Day

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Above / During the May 19, 2020, City Council Meeting, Councilman Paul Hinterlong, pictured here with Dan Casey, provided news that local Veterans will not be distributing poppies this year from the entrances to Casey’s Foods and other local supermarkets to help observe Memorial Day. Stay-at-home orders of 6′ social distancing, vulnerable Veterans and volunteers prevent the annual tradition. (PN File Photo)

The Poppy movement was inspired by fields of red poppies in a well-known poem written in 1915 by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae titled “In Flanders Fields.” In the past, the annual poppy distribution has been a way to heighten awareness and enlighten all ages about the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

Considered by many to be the world’s most popular spring flower in perennial gardens, the red poppy is the symbol of the American Legion and the VFW, handed out for Memorial Day, and worn in buttonholes the week prior to the American holiday. (PN File Photo from WWII Veteran Don Crookston’s backyard)

Update, June 9, 2020 / Wayne Fischer reports “Final Results of our Post 43 2020 Poppy Day Program brought in total donations of $1,920.84. The net received thru PayPal was $1,335.84 and $585.00 was received via mail. 

“I just want to personally thank each of our generous donators, said Fischer. “I know that this is a very challenging time for all, but Members and Friends of Post 43 stepped up to continue their support for our fellow Veterans confined to VA Hospitals.  The money collected goes directly towards the purchase of “Comfort Items” for them (toiletries, reading materials, etc).”

Original Post, May 21, 2020 / When mid-May rolls around many backyard gardens are edged with blossoms of bright red poppies, standing tall and collecting dew early in the morning.  The perennial flower also is the centerpiece of the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by John McCrae during World War I in Ypres, Belgium, symbolic of remembrance and hope.

With Memorial Day on the mind, thoughts also turn to a longtime tradition of springtime when Veterans from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other volunteers stand with bunches of red artificial poppies to help raise funds for disabled Veterans. Because of orders of 6′ social distancing and more, annual poppy distribution will be on hold this year.

Note also that all public Memorial Day observances, including the parade, have been canceled in Naperville.

Poppy Distribution since 1922

Artificial poppies first were distributed by the Franco-American Children’s League to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium following World War I.

Wearing a red poppy is a personal choice. Support is greatly appreciated by the individuals it helps as well as all Veterans, military currently serving, and their families and dependents.

The red poppy represents remembrance and hope, a reminder not to forget sacrifices that have been made to protect America’s freedoms in a quest for world peace.

In Flander’s Field

buddy-poppy-3
The red poppy is a symbol of remembrance and hope for world peace.

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.

Poppy Project / Make your own to observe 2020 Memorial Day…

If you’re unable to find a poppy from last year, make your own. Follow these simple steps and create a bunch as a way to remember Gold Star and Blue Star families on Memorial Day.

During the recent City Council meeting when Councilman Paul Hinterlong mentioned the 2020 Memorial Day Parade was canceled and Poppies would not be distributed to raise awareness, we thought we’d try “to make our own.” Homemade artificial poppies also are intended to signify the sacrifices Veterans and their families have made to protect America’s freedom, serving as a hands-on activity to engage youngsters in the true meaning of Memorial Day.

More than likely, families already have most of the supplies. Red, green and white paper are needed. We used red post-a-notes, green printer paper and white printer paper.

  1. Draw a 1-and-a half-inch circle on the red paper. (The round tablespoon in a set of measuring spoons provided just the right size for tracing. The lid on a bottle of salad dressing also is about the right size.) Cut it out. Then mark seven curves to represent the seven petals of the Buddy Poppy. Use a sharp pencil to punch a hole in the center.
  2. Cut 1 inch x 4 1/4 inch strips of green paper. Fold in half lengthwise. Then fold again.
  3. Fold green length in half.
  4. Create a loop at the top, then twist the rest to create the stem.
  5. Stick the stem through the hole of the red “Poppy.” Then gently push the flower forward.
  6. Cut strips of white paper for appropriate Memorial Day messages such as “Freedom Isn’t Free” and “God Bless America.” Use a small piece of Scotch tape to fasten to the stem.
Photo by Tim Penick for Positively Naperville

American Legion Post 43 ‘Poppy Days 2020’ 

In light of the current “Stay at Home” order and the uncertainty of when it will end, Naperville American Legion Post 43 remains committed to holding “Poppy Days,” but in a different format, noted Wayne Fischer, Senior Vice, Department of Illinois, in a recent email. The community is welcome to donate to Post 43 via check or credit card between today and May 31.

Donate by check payable to “Naperville American Legion Post 43”
Memo Line: “Operation Comfort Warriors”

Mail to: Naperville American Legion Post 43
PO Box 4
Naperville, IL 60566-0004

Donate via credit card online at www.naperlegion.org. Credit card and checking transfer are accepted.

Fischer said last year donations exceeded $4,500 and all proceeds went to the American Legion “Operation Comfort Warrior” (OCW) Program. The OCW program was created after Sept. 11 to provide “comfort items” that help wounded warriors in their recovery at VA Hospitals, but are not covered as a budget item on government spreadsheets. 

In addition, all OCW administrative and marketing costs are paid from American Legion Membership dues received, meaning that 100 percent of donated Poppy Day funds go directly to purchasing comfort items for service men and women. Operation Comfort Warriors represents expressions of gratitude to all military who have sacrificed to protect  freedom.

Fischer added, “Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider a donation to this year’s Naperville ‘American Legion Post 43 Poppy Days.’ Every year since Post 43 has held its Poppy Days, all proceeds always have gone to support our fellow Veterans. That was the intent since the inception of the American Legion Poppy Program in 1921 and will continue.”

Memorial Day is May 25, 2020

For nearly 90 years, Naperville’s Memorial Day observances have been organized by local Veterans and citizens. Traditionally, the community rallies in support of the American Legion Post 43 (chartered in 1919) and the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 (chartered in 1944), two local organizations of dedicated Veterans that continue to serve their country.

For 2020, public observances planned for Memorial Day on May 25 have been canceled, noted Memorial Day Events Chairman Tom Parker. 

“Due to the ongoing concerns with COVID-19 and the directives that have been issued regarding group gatherings, there will not be a public memorial service on Monday,” said Parker.  “Instead, we are asking that members of the community take time that day to reflect on the significance of the day and to remember those members of the military that have given their lives in the service of our country. Flags will be placed at the cemeteries, as we have done in the past, and people are invited to drive through the cemeteries to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those Veterans who are no longer with us.”

With that knowledge in mind, private observances are welcome. Fly the American flag. Each year on Memorial Day a “National Moment of Remembrance” takes place at 3PM local time. During “Stay-at-Home,” plan to pause and reflect about the supreme sacrifices that have been made by military men, women and their families to help keep this nation protected and free.

No matter where you stand, be safe. Practice 6′ social distancing. Commemorate precious freedom on Memorial Day and respect it every day. Freedom isn’t free.

nina-two-poppies

Above/ Jefferson Avenue at Main Street has been a popular place for youngsters to meet friendly Veterans and to receive a red artificial Poppy during the week before Memorial Day. For 2020, VFW Buddy Poppy distribution was put on hold until another time. (PN File Photo)

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PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.
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