2023 Buddy Poppy Queen

- 6/24/2023

By Frederick Walton

Calabash VFW Post 7288 is proud to announce the  crowning of the 2023  Buddy Poppy Queen, Lacee Erickson. Congratulations for receiving her crown, for the second year in a row, at the May 8, 2023 VFW Auxiliary meeting. She also  received an award check for  $100. Lacee helped distribute Poppies at many local events like the 4th of July Celebration and the Oyster Festival. She also wrote the award winning essay on  "What does the "Buddy” Poppy represent and how does it affect you?” to win the 2023 Buddy Poppy Queen title. 

The Calabash VFW Post 7288 has been sponsoring this program for two years and is honored to distribute Buddy Poppies to the community to encourage the remembrance of our honored Veterans and provide financial support to important veterans programs.

In the spring of 1915, in the war torn World War One no mans land, where some of the fiercest fighting took place, bright red flowers began peeking through the battle scarred landscape. Nature tenaciously surviving the manmade devastation. The sight of the fresh, abundant flowers, covering the killing ground inspired a Canadian soldier, John Macrae to pen a now famous poem called "In Flanders Fields”, giving voice to the dead who lay beneath the spring blooms and reminding us to never forget their sacrifice.

 "In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row…”

By 1918 the simple red poppy, papaver rhoeas, technically a weed, has come to symbolize the remembrance of our fallen combat veterans. In 1922 the Veterans of Foreign wars conducted a nationwide  distribution of Poppy boutonnieres  in time for Memorial day, becoming the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, as it remains today. 

In 1923 the VFW decided to pay needy and disabled veterans to assemble poppies to provide them with financial assistance. By the following year a factory was established in Pittsburgh and the VFW adapted and registered the name "Buddy Poppy” to represent this important community Veterans remembrance program.

Today, the VFW Buddy Poppy program provides compensation to those who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home. The Calabash VFW Post 7288 supports this national program by hosting local Buddy Poppy drives. One way the Calabash VFW Post 7288 achieves that is through the annual  Buddy Poppy King and Queen Contest open to all boys and girls, ages 9- 12. Theses youngsters actively distribute Poppies throughout the community, while learning about patriotism, honor and the sacrifices made by our Veterans. In addition to the direct community relations work required by handing out Poppies and collecting donations, the youngsters hand write a detailed essay about what the Buddy Poppy program represents and how it has affected them personally. Along with the contestants patriotic activities and community service, their essays are judged on their topic content and their penmanship. While they are all winners for participating in this community activity, the top winner is crowned the Poppy King or Queen and receives a monetary award.

Boys and girls who wish to participate and compete in next years competition are encouraged to contact Calabash VFW Post 7288 Auxilliary Vice President Cathy Milstead via the contact tab on vfw7288.org.

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