KOKOMO - During the month of May, auxiliary members of American Legion Unit 6 will wear and distribute their famous red memorial poppies, which honor past and current military personnel.
To honor sacrifices made by the United States Armed Forces to preserve American freedom, the auxiliary members will be selling the handmade poppies throughout the community.
Each year, auxiliary members travel throughout Kokomo to collect donations from local residents in exchange for the red crepe paper poppies – a commitment that has earned them thousands of dollars in past years.
And during a special ceremony at City Hall on Monday - held for the 10th consecutive year - Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight proclaimed the month of May as American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Month.
“It is vital for us to remember and honor the young women and men who gave their lives in battle,” said Goodnight in a press release. “These iconic red poppies are an outward symbol of our support.”
The American Legion Unit 6asks that every American citizen wear a poppy for the observance of Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.
The poppy, a replica of the Flanders Poppu, was officially adopted in 1921 as the memorial flower of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary. The flowers are meant to honor fallen veterans and symbolize the bloodshed of war.
In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, poppies grew wild amid the war. The overturned soils of battle covered the poppy seeds, which allowed the flowers to grow, according to the release.
The red poppies immediately came to symbolize the bloodshed of war. American veterans remembered the wild poppies lining the devastated battlefields of Belgium and France.
Revenue collected from poppy sales benefit hospitalized and disabled veterans, who also make each red flower by hand.
Donations given in exchange for the poppies, which are handcrafted by disabled and hospitalized veterans, have been distributed previously to numerous organizations and health facilities, including the Indiana Veterans’ Home, Marion VA Medical Center, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and Operation Comfort Warriors.
In addition, the group has donated money to creative arts programs at the Marion VA and Indiana Veterans’ Home, which provides therapy to veterans dealing with Alzheimer’s and post-traumatic stress disorder.