Editor, Index-Tribune:

Since 1922, the Buddy Poppy has been an integral part of the VFW community. The poppy movement was inspired by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields.” As VFW’s official memorial flower, the poppy represents the blood shed by American service members. It reiterates that VFW will not forget their sacrifices.

Veterans in VA hospitals and state veterans homes, assemble the poppies, tie them in bunches of 10 and pack them in boxes of 500, 1,000 or 2,000 for shipment to the posts and ladies auxiliaries. VFW pays the disabled veterans for their work. In most cases, this extra money provides additional income for the veterans to pay for the little luxuries that make hospital life more tolerable.

During 2013, military veterans of Post 1943 sponsored two Buddy Poppy distributions in Sonoma; one for Memorial week and another Veterans Day week. The poppies were distributed at various locations throughout the community. The generosity of the people of Sonoma knows no bounds, as collections this year totaled more than $11,100.

Unlike most charitable organizations, 100 percent of the contributions are used to help veterans and their families in time of need. We help with rent, food, utilities and clothing. In addition, the post has contributed to the California Veterans Home in Yountville and sponsors patriotism oriented events.

We thank those merchants who permit us to distribute poppies on their premises and we also thank the generous businesses and the people of the Sonoma Valley for their continuing generosity.

Bob Piazza

Capt. USN (Ret)

Post 1943 Judge Advocate