Members of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 136 will be stationed around Pine Island over the weekend with red crepe paper poppies to raise money for veterans rehabilitation.
"We will be out on Friday and Saturday with poppies collecting donations for our veterans," said Linda Lewis, president of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 136. "We will be at Winn-Dixie, Circle-K, the General Store and, of course, the American Legion Hall. The hours are from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m."
The red "remembrance" poppy is a plant found throughout France. Following World War I battles in Flanders, France, red poppies began to grow on the battlefields reminding Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae of the blood spilled there. When McCrae published the poem "In Flander's Fields," the first two lines read: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row ..." Shortly thereafter the red poppy was recognized as a symbol of remembrance of those who died in war.
Today it's used as a symbol in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
The American Legion adopted the poppy as a symbol in 1920 and the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary shortly afterwards.
The American Legion Auxiliary provides its 9,500 units across the country with a supply of the poppies and requires that they be assembled only by veterans. The Ladies Auxiliary donates 100 percent of the profits to the welfare relief for service members and their families.