As a small symbol of remembrance, the poppy has made a big difference for veterans in need. In 1923, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) had its first national campaign for the annual distribution of poppies, which are assembled by disabled or hospitalized veterans.
Locally, VFW Bear Flag Post 1943 and its Ladies Auxiliary will be part of the annual campaign, distributing Buddy Poppies at Sonoma locations May 22-24.
According to Post Commander Dan Parker, all donations will directly benefit disabled and needy veterans and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans. The Sonoma Post has helped more than 70 veterans and their families, and active duty personnel over the past three years. The need is increasing as young veterans return to civilian life, Parker said.
“What better way to help our veterans in the community than by distributing this little flower of remembrance,” Parker said. “We encourage everyone in town to stop by and get a Buddy Poppy to help honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Our goal is to raise $10,000 this year, and we will use it all.”
The Buddy Poppy team will be at the following locations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday, May 22-24: Broadway Market, Friedman Brothers Sonoma, CVS, Sonoma Post Office, Safeway, and Lucky.
The poppy is the official memorial flower of the VFW, which calls the fundraising flowers ‘Buddy Poppies.” The national campaign distributes about 14 million of the poppies while raising $15 million. Founded in 1899, VFW is the nation’s oldest major veterans organization with more than 1.7 million members.