You see them twice a year. Each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the Poppy Ladies of the American Legion Post 160 Auxiliary take up baskets of red, crepe paper poppies and station themselves outside grocery stores and shopping centers to pass out tiny reminders of those who made a huge sacrifice.
“I personally don’t feel that enough is done for our men and women that have served and suffered for the good of our country and keep us at peace,” said Marilyn Roy, chair of the poppy distribution. “That’s my personal feeling.”
Most of these women know the impacts of that sacrifice firsthand. Members of the American Legion Auxiliary have to be veterans or related to a veteran—a spouse, sister, mother, grandmother, daughter or granddaughter.
It takes a fleet of about 50 auxiliary volunteers to distribute the poppies during Memorial Day weekend and on Veteran’s Day. The ALA sells poppies because of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Col. John McCrae, which describes how “in Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row.”
All the poppies are handmade by veterans as part of their therapy. Roy said the money American Legion Post 160 Auxiliary raises during the poppy distributions usually goes to veterans in Veterans Affairs hospitals. She said that last year the Post 160 Auxiliary raised $6,000 for veterans between its Memorial Day and Veterans Day distribution events.
Poppy Ladies can be found distributing poppies Sunday at the South Cobb Drive Kroger, the Atlanta Road Kroger just inside the perimeter and the Walmart on East West Connector. ALA members will also distribute poppies at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony.