In honor of our veterans’ past and current sacrifices and to contribute to the continuing needs of our veterans, members of American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #59, will distribute bright red poppies on Saturday, May 6, at Harlan’s Grocery Store and Casey’s.

The group will also have cans set in several business establishments throughout Story City during the month of May. Angela Schnurstein, poppy chairman,Virginia Swenson, Becky Watson and Dianne Swenson, president, have coordinated this event.

The Flanders Field poppy has become an internationally known and recognized symbol of the lives of men and women sacrificed in all wars and the hope that none died in vain.

“Wear the poppy to honor and remember the millions of Americans who have willingly served our nation, all too many of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. We must never forget,” said Swenson. “This entire month of May and Memorial Day weekend will pay an honored tribute to all veterans who have served in the past and those who are currently serving overseas. Please continue to remember them and what they have done and continue to do for our country all throughout the year.”

The poppy also honors hospitalized and disabled veterans who handcraft many of the red, crepe paper flowers. Making the poppies continues to provide a financial and therapeutic benefit to those veterans who construct them, as well as a benefit to thousands of other veterans and their families through the donations collected from poppy distributions.

In the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, poppies grew wild amid the ravages of war. The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, allowing them to grow and forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed of war.

The tradition of the memorial poppy can be traced to a single individual beginning in November 1918. Moina Michael bought a bouquet of poppies and handed them to businessmen where she worked. She asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen of World War I. The red crepe paper poppies symbolize the sacrifices made by our military service members.

Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary members have dedicated themselves for nearly a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of more than $3.1 billion. As part of the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, ALA volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism

For more information, call Virginia Swenson 515-201-8145. To learn more about the ALA’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, you can also visit the national website to learn more about this great organization serving our veterans.