Memorial Day, The VFW And Buddy Poppies


    Memorial Day honors and memorializes all those who lost their lives while defending our country and, this year we observed this national holiday on May 29. The origin of Memorial Day dates to the end of the Civil War (1865) when there was a great need to honor those soldiers who died in the war. According to the National Park Service, “On May 30, 1868, a crowd of more than 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) exercises.” On that same day “…James Abram Garfield (1831– 81) [future president of the United States], …in this first of such annual addresses at Arlington National Cemetery and across the nation, set a standard by explaining what Decoration Day all is about and why it should be commemorated.”

    Before this year’s holiday, many of you may have encountered members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at various places around our town, distributing Buddy Poppies and receiving donations from the public. The giving and wearing of the poppy is intrinsically connected to the Memorial Day commemoration. The official VFW website,, tells us that after WWI, “The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, as it is today.” Donations to the “…VFW Buddy Poppy program provides compensation to those [disabled veterans] who assemble the poppies, but also provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home.”

    So do the funds collected during the Buddy Poppy distribution by the VFW posts cover the expenses of this financial assistance given by the VFW? The answer is surprisingly no—financial support for these VFW programs comes directly from individual VFW posts who, at their own expense, yearly purchase the Buddy Poppies from the VFW, which in turn, distributes those dollars to the organizations outlined above.

    It is a regulation of the VFW that all donations received during the distribution of Buddy Poppies be placed into the posts’ Relief Fund and then distributed to organizations that support veterans. This year, VFW Post 1819 will send checks from its relief fund to the following not-for-profit corporations: United Veterans Beacon House, Bravo Foxtrot United Veterans, Inc., Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, Folds of Honor, and Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Are you interested in helping veterans and their families in need? If you are an honorably discharged veteran who has served in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters please consider joining our non-partisan VFW Post 1819. Once enrolled, you can enjoy extensive membership benefits, help to continue our good work through the Buddy Poppy program, share in a brother- and sisterhood with others who have fought in defense of our country and enjoy activities at our newly renovated post (soon to be available for rentals). Here are some reasons why the others have joined our Post:

    “My decision to join VFW Post 1819 accelerated my becoming a citizen of Port Washington. Immediately, I participated in veteran fundraising, holiday parades and the cooperative activities that maintain our VFW Post. Almost immediately I became a member of my wider community on the North Shore of Long Island. Over time, my comrades became close friends; our common experience as veterans was the beginning of a fuller life as a part of my new home.” —Mel Gagliano, Operation Desert Storm

    “I joined VFW Post 1819 because of my desire to be in the company of other individuals who have shared similar military experiences to mine. In addition to companionship, my membership with the VFW has offered me great deal of satisfaction in raising money to aid disabled and homeless veterans and their families and performing community services with other non-profit organizations in our area.” —Jerald H. Tedeschi, Vietnam War

    If you would like to become a member of our VFW Post, or simply donate by check to support it; please use our below address, or directly contact: Fred Blumlein Quartermaster, Henderson-Marino VFW Post 1819, 29 Mohegan Ave. Port Washington, NY 11050. Email: Cell: 516-382-6588

    —Submitted by the
    Members of VFW Post 1819