ESCANABA - In the World War I battlefields of Belgium, poppies grew wild amid the ravaged landscape. How could such a pretty little flower grow wild while surrounded by the bloodshed during its destruction?
The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, thus allowing them to grow and to forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed during its future wars.
In 1921, the American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as the organization's flower and pledged its use to benefit our servicemen and families. Today, the poppy continues to provide a financial and therapeutic benefit to those in hospitals and disabled veterans who construct them.
Dorothy McKnight | Daily Press
Rosemary Opferkuch of Escanaba purchases a poppy from Wayne St. Pierre, a member of American Legion Post 82 of Escanaba. Members of the legion post sold the flowers, which symbolizes the sacrifice of American soldiers during World War I, at various locations in Escanaba on Friday and Saturday.
Each nine-piece poppy is made by veterans for veterans in Auxiliary sponsored poppy shops. The Auxiliary provides the materials and the volunteers. The veteran makes the poppy and is paid a small amount for each painstakingly made flower. For some, it is their only income.
No matter what the cost of maintaining and supplying the poppy shops, the memorial poppy is never sold but given in exchange for a contribution.
Under the leadership of Poppy co-chairwomen, Susan Searle and Gayle Gill, members of American Legion Post 82 of Escanaba conducted Poppy Days sales at a variety of locations in Escanaba on Friday and Saturday.