The Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Post 500 Auxiliary and Legion members usually distribute poppies in May outside local businesses in Crosslake. National Poppy Day is Friday, May 22. As recommended by the Minnesota Department of the American Legion Auxiliary, poppy distribution and collection of donations has been postponed this year because of the pandemic.

Distribution will now occur in early July.

At the end of World War I, the American Legion adopted the poppy as a symbol of freedom and the blood sacrifice made by troops in wartime. The symbol comes from the poem "In Flanders Field," written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, which movingly begins, “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row."

This refers to the poppies that sprang up in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves over parts of Belgium and France.

The Crosslake-Fifty Lakes American Legion Auxiliary collected more than $2,300 in 2020 through poppy distribution and donations. These funds were used to support veterans' programs, such as the Veteran’s Child Welfare Foundation, vet rehabilitation, shower supplies for vets, ALA Hospital Program, donating funds to wounded warriors and homeless vets, and other Auxiliary projects that specifically support veterans.

Watch for Auxiliary and Legion volunteers in early July, and wear your poppy proudly in honor of fallen soldiers.