Letter: VFW is thankful for poppies, generosity and support

Posted 5/30/19

If you were out and about on Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, and stopped by either Seabra or Stop & Shop Supermarkets, or at the Post Office, all located in Bristol, R.I., chances are you …

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Letter: VFW is thankful for poppies, generosity and support

Posted

If you were out and about on Friday, May 17, or Saturday, May 18, and stopped by either Seabra or Stop & Shop Supermarkets, or at the Post Office, all located in Bristol, R.I., chances are you probably saw a veteran or two, hoping that kind folks would dispense some of their cash in a little red bucket. In turn, the veteran would hand them a little artificial red flower, called a “poppy.”

Now, most people would accept this handout and walk away, knowing or not, the significance of this little red flower. Those who did know would sometimes mention their experiences of receiving it in the past and what it meant to them. For those who don’t know, let me relay a little history of our bi-yearly “Poppy Drive” that we bring out at this time of year and again around Veterans Day.

This little flower dates back to World War I, and it was made famous by Canadian Officer, Col. John McCrae, a physician, who was inspired by the flower, because the poppy, which can lay dormant in the soil for years, has the ability to reappear in great numbers.

Donna Teresa, in Homefront Journal, writes, “Today, the American Legion’s ‘Memorial Poppy’ and the Veterans of Foreign Wars ‘Buddy Poppy’ programs, with the help of their tireless volunteers, raise funds close to Memorial Day and Veterans Day. They, like the red poppy, have survived courageously through battle and disability, and despite the destruction of war, the renewal of life offers another chance for them.”

With these funds, as an example, members of VFW Anthony C. Almeida Post #237, located at 850 Hope St. in Bristol, can make donations to local veteran projects; assist troops overseas; send money to the national, state and local VFW Posts; donate money for scholarships for the Voice of Democracy for students in grades 9 to 12; and award scholarships for the Patriot Pen for students in grades 6 to 8.

I’ll end by mentioning one such donation that I received last Saturday when I was in front of the Post Office, between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon time. Around mid-morning, a young boy, around the age of 7 or 8 years old, pushing a scooter, stopped in front of my bucket that I had in front of me, and made a comment of, “Oh,  donations?!” I replied, “Yes.” I didn’t think to mention to him that it was for the VFW because I figured he wouldn’t understand.

So he proceeded, without hesitation, to pull out a little plastic sandwich bag that was partially filled with loose change and began to deposit the money in the bucket. Seeing this play out, I responded,”WHOA. Wait a minute. You need to keep some of that change for yourself.” And again, without hesitation he responded, “No. Its OK,” and he proceeded to empty it in the bucket. I thanked him and he drove off. Wow. Can we all learn from young people who show this type of giving and compassion?

In closing, we at the VFW want to thank all of you who took the time to place donations that will help us help others. 

God bless you and God bless America.

Gerry Payette
Bristol

Mr. Payette is a service officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Anthony C. Almeida Post #237 in Bristol.

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