‘We Keep This Sacred Promise Alive’

VFW’s Buddy Poppy continues to serve as a reminder of those who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of the nation

The VFW became the first veterans service organization to distribute poppies as a tribute to fallen World War I veterans. Since 1922, the VFW has conducted poppy drives, making the red flower of remembrance the official flower of the VFW.

Just two years later, on May 20, 1924, the VFW was granted trademark rights for the name Buddy Poppy under the classification of artificial flowers.

VFW Post 2210 Commander Dennis M. Grass and VFW Post 2210 Auxiliary Americanism Chairman Sharon Giesler
VFW Post 2210 Commander Dennis M. Grass and VFW Post 2210 Auxiliary Americanism Chairman Sharon Giesler donate VFW Buddy Poppies last fall to Ste. Genevieve Elementary and Bloomsdale Elementary schools in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. The Buddy Poppies were presented to the students during their Poppy Day at school.
To this day, no other organization, firm, or individual can legally use the name Buddy Poppy.

VFW Posts take pride in Buddy Poppy distribution, especially around the Memorial Day holiday. In communities around the world, VFW members stand in front of businesses, on street corners or other high-traffic areas for pedestrians. Donations given in exchange for the Buddy Poppies fund Posts’ veterans relief services, and a portion also goes to the VFW National Home for Children.

“It is important for us as the VFW to commemorate our war dead during the sacred time of Memorial Day,” VFW Programs Director Lynn Rolf said. “We live by the old saying ‘Honoring the Dead by Helping the Living’ and by distributing the Buddy Poppy, we keep this sacred promise alive and well.”

VFW updated its Buddy Poppy distribution last year with the release of a new poppy tin tab. The VFW Store sells both versions for distribution by VFW Posts. Visit https://www.vfwstore.org for more information and to place an order.

VFW magazine would love to see photos of your Buddy Poppy events. Please email photos with identifying information to magazine@vfw.org.

This article is featured in the 2024 May VFW magazine and was written by Janie Dyhouse, senior editor for VFW magazine.