The Ottumwa Courier

May 14, 2013

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Ottumwa Courier

---- — FAIRFIELD — To honor the nation’s war dead as Memorial Day approaches, Poppy Days will be held in Fairfield on Friday and Saturday.

Poppy Days is held by the Fairfield American Legion Auxiliary #47 at the Hy-Vee Food Store and Walmart, at uptown First National Bank and Iowa State Bank & Trust Company branch at Fourth and Burlington on Friday, and Walmart on Saturday.

American Legion Auxiliary members and other volunteers distribute poppies each year to the public near Memorial Day to pay tribute to the nation’s honored war dead and in appreciation and reminder of continuing concerns of living veterans who have served or are serving. All contributions made by the public are used by the American Legion Auxiliary solely for the welfare of needy veterans and their families.

The red crepe paper poppy, replica of the Flanders Poppy, was officially adopted in 1921 as the Memorial Flower of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary. The poppies are handmade by hospitalized veterans of the World Wars, Korean War, Vietnam War, Grenada/Lebanaon and Panama conflicts and the Persian Gulf War. The veteran who made the poppies distributed by the local Auxiliary has been paid for making them, possibly the only income of that hospitalized veteran.

From the battlefields of World War I, weary soldiers brought home memories of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil. The four petals of poppies represent dedication, sacrifice, responsibility and compassion. The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood. The green of the stem and foliage is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free. The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors. The assembled flower is a symbol of resurrection, which is sure to follow.

For more information about Poppy Days or the auxiliary, contact Darlene Vorhies at 641-472-4449.