American Legion Auxiliary Kicks Off Annual Poppy Drive

Each year, in advance of National Poppy Day (Friday, May 24) and Memorial Day, the members of Manhasset Unit 304 distribute poppies in remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our Country. The poppy is a symbol of the blood that has been shed in times of conflict and has been the American Legion Family’s official flower of remembrance since 1920.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” was written in 1915 by Lt. Col. John McRae, a physician and poet who served on the front lines with the Canadian army during the First World War. He was inspired to write it after the funeral of a close friend and fellow soldier, when he observed the wild poppies that were blooming among the graves:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This year, Manhasset Unit 304 will be distributing poppies at Raindew, other locations on Plandome Road and in front of the Manhasset Post Office on Saturday, May 18. We will also distribute poppies after the Masses at St. Mary’s Church on May 18 and 19, and at Mary Jane Davies Park following the Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 27.

.All donations are greatly appreciated. These go completely and exclusively to assist veterans, active-duty military and their families, where financial and medical need is evident. In the past year, Manhasset Unit 304 has used poppy funds to purchase needed therapy equipment for Northport VA Medical Center, fund transportation for suicide prevention programs at Northport, donate food store gift cards to veterans and their families experiencing financial hardship, support the needs of Northport’s Women’s Wellness Center, provide holiday gifts for veterans in residence at Northport, send needed items to our troops overseas, and donate to organizations serving veterans such as America’s VetDogs, Paws of War and Honor Flight.

If you would like to support our efforts, please look for us this weekend or mail a check payable to American Legion Auxiliary to American Legion Auxiliary, 27 Bayview Avenue, Manhasset. Please include “Poppies” in the memo line. Thank you for your generosity toward those who have so unselfishly sacrificed for our freedom.

—Submitted by Elizabeth A. Parrella, Manhasset Unit 304 Poppy Chair


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