To the editor:
This Saturday, members of the Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, of which I have the honor of being recently elected commander, will be offering red poppies in front of a number of businesses in Gloucester for donations from the public.
The history of this event is from the battlefields of World War I, where weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil. The red poppy became a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war and represented the hope that none has died in vain.
The American Legion poppy has continued to bloom for the casualties of five wars, its petals of paper bound together for veterans by veterans, reminding America each year that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserved to be remembered.
The poppy as a symbol was taken from a line in the poem “in Flanders Fields” written on the battlefield during World War I by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. It begins, “In Flanders Fields, the poppies Blow between the crosses, row in row that marks our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below...”
The American Legion is the oldest veterans organization in the United States having been established in 1919. It has a long and distinguished history. Capt. Lester S. Wass American Legion Post #3, also has a long and distinguished history as it stands at the end of Washington Street in the shadow of the Joan of Arc statute and welcomes every visitor to our fair city.
It reminds our citizens and visitors of the sacrifices that were made by our young men and women to preserve and protect this nation and to keep it free from tyranny and terror.