Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies.
Two years later their Buddy Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans when the VFW began paying disabled and hospitalized veterans to assemble synthetic poppies.
The poppies were then offered to the public. The VFW accepted donations for the poppies but insisted that anyone could have a poppy without a donation.
Buddy Poppies were made available by VFW members who stood on nearly every downtown street corner.
Although the program is still alive, it has been a long time since I saw a Buddy Poppy.