To the Editor:

Red poppies aren’t just pretty flowers. They are so much more.

They symbolize the sacrifice of our service men and women who were killed or wounded while protecting our nation. We wear the flower to honor them and to show support of our military veterans and their families.

The custom can be traced back to 1918, when a lady by the name of Moina Michael came up with the idea of wearing a poppy flower in memory of our fallen heroes during World War I, after reading the poem, “In Flanders Fields, written by Lt. Col. John McCrae in his sorrow at looking at rows and rows of graves where his comrades recently had been buried in France.

In 1920, the American Legion — led by the American Legion Auxiliary — officially adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower to pay homage to our fallen warriors.

Each year since, the American Legion family offers the poppy flower to the veteran community through Poppy Distribution Days. All proceeds received from donations and used to support the veterans and their families — either directly or through the VA hospitals.

In Wisconsin, the red crepe paper poppies are made by hospitalized veterans at the Auxiliary Poppy Shop at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, under the supervision of the Auxiliary’s Poppy Shop supervisors. The veterans making the poppies receive a monetary stipend which helps give them a greater feeling of self-sufficiency. The physical and mental activity gives them many therapeutic benefits.

The Frank Kresen Post 24 and its Auxiliary will be offering poppies to the public the last two weekends in May — at Walmart, Walgreen’s, Piggly Wiggly, and the downtown area. Please help us support our veterans and their families.

Joyce Bouhl

Lake Geneva