Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, May 14, 2006, pg. 12

Our theme this month is “remember our Veterans” as we approach Memorial Day. One annual occurrence here is the selling of artificial miniature “poppies” by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Artificial miniature poppies were originally meant to symbolize the blood shed during World War I. The famous poem “In Flander’s Field” was the inspiration for the nationwide poppy program. It begins, “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row,” etc., and concludes, “If ye break faith with us, who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, in Flander’s Fields.”

Originally offered to the American Legion in 1920, the poppy program was taken over nationwide by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1922. In fact, the VFW received a patent on their “Buddy Poppy” name in 1924. It is estimated that since that time over three-quarters of a billion poppies have been sold nationwide.

Used for fundraising to help disabled and other veterans and their families within these organizations, the “Poppy Day” sales have been going on for many decades here in Albion by both the American Legion and the VFW. One week the VFW will do the selling, and the next week the American Legion will take their turn. During this time, you’ll often see the familiar face of a veteran standing in front of Felpausch or Citizens Bank selling poppies, and holding a canister in his hand for a donation to the worthy cause.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a scene from the May, 1954 Poppy Day sale. Albion Mayor Norman H. Wiener is seated in the center. He is being persuaded to purchase poppies from American Legion members (left) Helen Dianich and Irene (Tyszko) Campbell, and (right) VFW members Vernon Van Meter and Margaret Hull. How many of our readers have purchased their “Buddy Poppy” from a veteran this week?

May, 1954, Mayor Wiener purchases his “Buddy Poppy”


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