RICHMOND – Raising funds to help area veterans is only part of the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Buddy Poppy fundraiser.
VFW Post 4398 members will collect donations on the corner of Thornton and Main streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 25.
“When I see people in the community displaying their poppies, I appreciate that others remember the sacrifices they made,” VFW Post 4398 Senior Vice Commander-elect Trish Fields said. “It reminds us that we’re all in this together.”
The poppy received its significance after World War I battles in Belgium and France.
“An American pilot flew over the place where the Battle of Verdun had taken place and was dismayed at the level of destruction on this field,” Fields said.
James McConnell writes in his book, “Flying for France,” “Now there is only that sinister brown belt, a strip of murdered Nature,” to describe the destroyed landscape.
“Poppies grow in disturbed ground, like the battleground McConnell saw, and a Canadian doctor, John McCrae, found poppies growing in a cemetery where he buried a friend,” Fields said.
The poem “In Flanders Field” describes the poppies marking the places where the dead are buried and encourages others to lift up the torch from their hands and continue the fight.
“The poppy reminds people to persevere no matter what obstacles they may face,”
she said. “We, as veterans, as a community, can step forward to help each other.” Fields said all the money raised through the fundraiser goes to the relief fund to help veterans who have returned and do not know where to get help.
“The needs are as varied as the veterans out there,” Fields said. “In addition, the relief fund can be used to assist veterans and their families at the VFW’s National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.”