Letters to the Editor

Letter | Mercer Island is a generous community

Last Saturday I had the privilege of recognizing Memorial Day by spending a few hours at the South end QFC soliciting donations for the VFW. We hand out "Buddy Poppies" to recognize the donors. I've done this a few times over the years and I'm always struck with the generosity of the Mercer Island community. It wasn't just spare change people dropped in the jar — it was 5s, 10s and 20s. But while there I also got asked a few questions. What does the money go for and what is the significance of the poppies? Others didn't ask but seemed a little confused about why these gentlemen with funny hats were outside the store entrance, so here are the answers.

Disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals assemble VFW Buddy Poppies.

The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies; 100 percent of donations provide financial assistance in maintaining local, state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation's veterans in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

The use of artificial poppies by the VFW as a symbol of remembrance was started in 1922 and was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields." Canadian physician Lt. Col John McCrae wrote it after witnessing the death and presiding over the funeral of his friend, Lt. Helmer, in 1915 during World War I.

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.

The Mercer Island VFW Post 5760 thanks the community for remembering those veterans that gave the ultimate sacrifice and helping others that are in need.

Robert Harper

VFW Post 5760

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