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To honor fallen warriors and contribute to the continuing needs of veterans, members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 39, Madison, plan to distribute bright red poppies in exchange for a donation throughout May at various businesses in Madison.

National Poppy Day is Friday, May 28.

The Flanders Fields poppy has become an internationally-known symbol of the lives sacrificed in war and the hope that none died in vain. The American Legion Family called upon Congress to proclaim the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day, which was officially designated as such in 2017.

“Wearing the poppy on National Poppy Day and throughout Memorial Day weekend is one small way to honor and remember our fallen warriors who willingly served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said Unit 39 President Robin Turek, according to a news release from the auxiliary. “We must never forget.”

The poppy also honors hospitalized and disabled veterans who handcraft many of the red, crepe paper flowers. Making the poppies provides a financial and therapeutic benefit to the veterans, as well as a benefit to thousands of other veterans.

When The American Legion Family adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in the early 1920s, the blood-red icon became an enduring symbol of honor for the sacrifices of our veterans, from the battlefields of France in World War I to today’s global war on terror. The American Legion Auxiliary raises about $4 million each year distributing poppies throughout the nation, with 100% of funds raised going directly to help veterans, military, and their families.

To learn more and to volunteer, join and donate, visit alaforveterans.org or mainelegionpost39.org.