The VFW conducted its first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veteran’s organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.    It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally adopted during the VFW's 1923 encampment. The next year, disabled veterans at the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh assembled VFW  Buddy Poppies. The designation "Buddy Poppy" was adopted at that time.    In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office.  A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.  Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals.    The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation's veterans.
Buddy Poppy History
In April of 1915 a battle-weary Canadian soldier viewed the final resting place of thousands of young men who had fallen in the second Battle of Ypres in Belgium. Despondently he contemplated the rows of hastily dug graves - each marked by a lonely white cross.    In a sudden revelation, he heard the singing of larks in the sky, and amid the graves he saw gay little patches of red - white poppies, struggling through the battle-torn soil and through the clay mounds of the graves to bring their message of life among death.    Inspired, Col. John McCrae sat down and penned the three short verse of his famous poem "In Flanders Fields". Published in PUNCH Magazine a few months later, the poem brought a message of confidence to millions of people in the dark hours of World War I and established the Flanders Poppy as a symbol of faith and hope in a war-torn world.    Although Col. McCrae never lived to see the end of World War I, his poem has survived in print and in the minds and hearts of generations to whom his personal battle was mere history. The poppies, which provided his inspiration, still bloom in Flanders Fields; but their message of hope had become reality through the Veterans of Foreign Wars Buddy Poppy.  
In Flander's Field 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.  
This site was developed and is being maintained by Ray Halter, US Army Retired. Lifetime Member of VFW Post 8541 Please email any comments or suggestions to
VFW Post 8541 San Antonio, TX 2222 Austin Hwy Phone 210-655-2944