Veterans Day is observed annually on November 11 and happens to fall on a Saturday this year. It is a tradition for VFWs across the country to distribute Buddy Poppies during this time, and representatives from the Bunker Bar & Grill @ VFW Post 5923 will be doing that all weekend long in Camdenton.

Origin of the Buddy Poppy

The poppy became a symbol to remind us of the sacrifices made defending our country and fighting for our freedom after Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae penned the famous poem “In Flanders Fields.” While at a memorial service in Belgium during World War I, he saw a sea of white crosses, and among these grew the bright red poppy flower. It inspired him to write this beautiful poem.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

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.

In 1922, the VFW conducted the first poppy distribution nationwide. It was soon adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. In 1923, the decision was made that these Buddy Poppies would be made by disabled and needy veterans, and they would be paid for their work to provide them with financial assistance. It was in 1924 that the name “Buddy Poppy” was registered with the U.S. Patent Office.

Buddy Poppies in Camdenton

Our local VFW Post 5923 will be handing out Buddy Poppies on Friday and Saturday, November 11 & 12 at both Wal-Mart and Gerbes in Camdenton. We purchase the red handmade poppies from the VFW national headquarters, and that money creates income for the disabled veterans that assembled the flowers.

We do not “sell” the Buddy Poppies. They are given out and we ask for donations which will go toward our local Post Relief Fund. All of the donations collected stay local, helping men and women in our community that are in need.

Post Relief Fund

Donations accepted through the Buddy Poppy program provide primary funding for the Camdenton VFW’s Post Relief Fund. This fund provides aid, assistance, and comfort to needy or disabled veterans or members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans.

There are many ways that the Post Relief Fund is able to help those in need. Some of the examples of things that have been done are:

  • Travel expenses of a veteran’s widow
  • Veterans’ vehicle repair bill
  • Gas for a veteran’s trip to the VA hospital
  • Veteran’s overdue rent and utility bills
  • A portion of the mortgage for a veteran’s widow
  • Lodging for a stranded veteran

There is no better way to support local veterans than supporting your local VFW. In addition to picking up your Buddy Poppies this weekend, you can make a donation to the Post Relief Fund anytime, as the need is constant throughout the year.

Eating or drinking with as the the Bunker Bar & Grill in Camdenton also helps us to keep our brand new VFW building up and running. The bar and restaurant are a smoke-free environment and open to the public Wednesday-Sunday. We’ll be hosting a Veterans Day Celebration on Saturday, November 11 from 7-11 pm with live music, and we would love for everyone to come out and join us!