With Memorial Day on the horizon, The St. Peter American Legion family reminds the public that Congress supports May 28, 2021 as National Poppy Day. The St. Peter Legion encourages residents to wear or display a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance and hope.
The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed by those who served in war for their country following World War I. It was popularized by the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” Written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front line in World War I, the poem honors soldiers killed in battle. In 1920, the poppy became the memorial flower of The American Legion Family.
Each year, members of The American Legion Family, led by The American Legion Auxiliary, distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation. All donations received on National Poppy Day will be used directly by The American Legion Family to support the future of local veterans, active duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.
Promoting National Poppy Day in St. Peter is high school sophomore Raina Roemhildt.
“Military service and honoring veterans is important to me,” she said. “Between my father, grandfather, four uncles, two aunts and two cousins, our family has served over 150 years. Respecting veterans and those still serving is part of who I am and this is a small way to show I care.”
Roemhildt, 16, is considered a ‘military kid’ and has lived in military installations around the world while her father was serving active duty. She oversees the distribution of the poppy collection cans around town, accounting for funds, and this year, initiated an art contest, which is hosted with the help of the St. Peter Public Library.
Deanna Staples, President of St. Peter American Legion Auxiliary Unit 37 said, “Wearing a poppy the Friday before Memorial Day is a reminder to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and is a symbol of hope for the generations to come who will answer our nation’s call to military service. It is important for Americans to remember that we have an entirely new group of veterans. Supporting them and their families is absolutely essential.”
Poppy cans are available in various locations around St. Peter as of May 1. For more information about National Poppy Day, go to poppydayusa.org.