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Auxiliary Unit 229 Secretary Pam Rogers, at left, and Junior Auxiliary member Mary Downs volunteered to distribute the symbolic flowers on Poppy Day 2019. CONTRIBUTED

American Legion Auxiliary and Post 229 adjust handouts for poppies

MADISON – The days and weeks leading up to the celebration of Memorial Day often are busy times for American Legion Auxiliary, Post 229 and Legionnaires in Post 229.

These individuals host events to honor military personnel who have fallen in combat, mark their graves with flags and hold Memorial Day services. An important tradition surrounding these events is the distribution of the Poppy.

Poppies are associated with wartime deaths since World War I. Red does not symbolize blood, death or support for war. Instead, poppies were the only flowers that grew in war-torn battlefields during World War I. When the country sides were nothing but mud and devastation, poppy flowers sprouted up and flourished.

“The Poppy is our national symbol of remembrance for those who have given their lives in the service of our nation’s wars. Donations from Poppy distributions also make up most of the income for both our Auxiliary Unit and Legion Posts,” Auxiliary Unit President Jean Downs said.

“With donations, we can continue to serve our community’s veterans, sponsor our youth in Boys and Girls State, and promote citizenship and patriotism amongst our citizens with programs throughout the year,” Downs said.

• “As Memorial Day quickly approaches this year, our Post and Auxiliary members are met with the challenge of distributing poppies within the community under the restraints of social distancing and reduced foot-traffic at our normal distribution points,” Downs said.

To meet this challenge, American Legion is starting a program to bring the poppies to local businesses and organizations for distribution to their employees and asking businesses to donate to the American Legion family, Post Commander Larry Vannoy said.

“Your participation in this program will not only help ensure continuation of American Legion and Auxiliary’s vital programs within our community but also help instill a sense of patriotism within your place of work,” Downs said.

“We sincerely thank you for your consideration of supporting the annual tradition of our community members proudly wearing the Poppy as a unified show of support for those that have given their lives in the service of our great nations,” Downs said.

Donations are tax-deductible under the 501(c)19 non-profit category for veteran organizations. Individuals can postal mail checks payable to American Legion, Auxiliary Unit 229, P.O. Box 194, Madison AL 35758.

To participate in the poppy handout, call Downs at 256-929-8450 or email ALAux229@yahoo.com.

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