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Mayor designates "Buddy Poppy Month"

Laurie (Lulu) Tostenson, President of the West Fargo VFW Ladies Auxiliary and Mayor Rich Mattern participate in the signing of the Buddy Poppy proclamation.

The West Fargo VFW Ladies Auxiliary and Mayor Rich Mattern joined forces last week to declare May 2011 as Buddy Poppy Month, to mark the annual distribution of the red flowers by the VFW in the days leading up to and after Memorial Day. This year's theme is "They Gave, Will You?"

The goal of the Buddy Poppy program, "To Honor the Dead by Helping the Living," was recognized by the Mayor, as he urged all West Fargo citizens to honor the merits of the Buddy Poppy Campaign by contributing generously to its support.

Buddy Poppies are endorsed by leaders across the country and they are assembled by disabled veterans. Donations received for Buddy Poppies provide compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provide financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs, and partially support the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of the nation's veterans. For more than 75 years, the VFW's Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans' welfare and the well being of their dependents.

The Poppy movement was inspired by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae's poem, "In Flanders Fields." Poppies were originally distributed by the Franco-American Children's League to benefit children in devastated areas of France and Belgium following WWI. In 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and 31 years later, the "Buddy Poppy" became a National Program of the Ladies Auxiliary. The poem, "In Flander's Field," describes blowing red fields among the battleground of the fallen.

"I urge all patriotic citizens to wear a Buddy Poppy as mute evidence of our gratitude to the men and women of this country who have risked their lives in defense of the freedoms which we continue to enjoy as American citizens," Mattern said in his annual proclamation.