"Buddy”® Poppy Education
The "Buddy”® Poppy has been an integral part of the VFW community for more than 95 years. As the VFW’s official memorial flower, the Poppy represents the blood shed by American service members. It reiterates that we will not forget their sacrifices.
The Poppy movement was inspired by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae’s famous poem, "In Flanders Fields.” Poppies were originally distributed by the FrancoAmerican Children’s League to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium following World War I.
The VFW conducted its first Poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The initial campaign was conducted with Poppies the VFW got from France and members soon discovered it took too long to get the flowers shipped from France and they came up with a better idea; VFW "Buddy”® Poppies would be assembled by disabled, hospitalized, aging and needy American veterans who would be paid for their work, and then ship the Poppies to VFW members for distribution in communities across the country. In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy”® Poppy with the U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name "Buddy”® Poppy.
These small but mighty memorial flowers have raised millions for the welfare of veterans and their dependents. "Buddy”® Poppies are still assembled by disabled, hospitalized, aging and needy veterans in five locations, with the VFW providing compensation to the veterans who assemble the Poppies. The Poppy program also provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs, and partially supports the VFW National Home for Children.
VFW Nation Home
For more than 95 years, the VFW National Home located in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, has helped military and veteran families who need a fresh start. Families can live there rent-free for up to four years and have access to professional case management services, on-site licensed child care, life skills training, tutoring and other educational services, as well as recreational and community service opportunities. Families find healing in a safe and peaceful environment of tree-lined streets, 42 single-family homes, facilities such as a gym, library, computer and science labs, day care center, playgrounds, fishing pond, hiking trails, and more!
Founded in 1925 as a place where families left behind by war—mothers and children, brothers and sisters— could remain together, keeping the family circle intact even when their serviceman didn’t come home, the VFW National Home serves as a living memorial to America’s veterans by helping our nation’s military and veteran families during difficult times.
Reintegration, post-traumatic stress, high unemployment, rehabilitation from battlefield injuries, emotional wounds, financial stress, fractured family relationships, hopelessness and more can be the outcome for families with a parent serving our country— now, recently, or from earlier generations. Over the years, the National Home has met the changing needs of America’s military and veterans’ families.
Through it all, one thing has remained constant: the National Home’s commitment to honor our nation’s veterans and service members by providing help and hope for their children and families. The National Home’s community is open to families of active-duty military personnel, veterans and— recognizing that the effects of war can last for generations—descendants of members of the VFW and the VFW Auxiliary. The family can include one or both parents with one or more children.
In accepting families to the program, only one thing is asked of them: They must be committed to making changes in their lives. To remain at the National Home, they are expected to demonstrate consistent progress toward family goals. Together, in partnership with the whole family, the National Home is dedicated to helping each family reach its full potential.