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Elk Grove Citizen

Honor the Fallen and Support the Living

May 17, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Elise Spleiss

American Legion Auxiliary 383 president Sandy Seddon-Rice (right) with Girls State program delegates at Poppy table during a past Memorial Day service at Fair Oaks Cemetery. Photo by Elise Spleiss

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Bright red poppies were blowing in the wind at the Farmers Markets in Citrus Heights and Orangevale on May 11 and May 13.  Members of Fair Oaks American Legion Auxiliary Unit 383 handed out the bright red crepe poppies to those passing by.

Men, women and children of all ages, some with their puppies in tow, stopped to accept a poppy, learn of the program, and make a donation as part of a tradition which began in 1921. The U.S. Congress has designated the Friday before Memorial Day to be National Poppy Day.

Retired veterans, active military and gold star moms shared often touching stories of their experiences, while younger family members chose a bright red poppy to wear, a flag, and a blue and red bookmark along with a poppy coloring page.

Non-military shoppers on both days stopped by to hear the story of the red poppy for the first time. Families from other countries and cultures were intrigued by the program and were happy to wear the flower.

A famous poem, In Flanders Field, describes the origin of the red poppy. Following the battles during WWI which spanned southern Belgium and Northwest France, bright red poppies sprung up through the melting snow amid the lime enriched dirt, blood and rubble left by the war. 

Those flowers came to represent the blood shed there.

During the month of May each year, American Legion Auxiliary units throughout the country and around the world where Americans serve, have been providing the bright red poppies to honor our fallen warriors and as a reminder of the sacrifice of service made by today’s veterans and their families.

Funds raised from these Poppy Days are used only to help with the continuing needs of our active service and retired veterans and their families. In 2022 funds were used to give the families of active-duty veterans a memorable Christmas party.

Poppies are made by veterans who are disabled or live in assisted/retirement homes like Yountville in Napa County. They receive a small monetary allowance for their work with the red and green crepe paper which they assemble into the flowers for distribution.

Local auxiliary members then spend hours each year at home or at fluffing parties, opening and “fluffing” hundreds of poppies for their unit’s fundraising programs.

One of the goals is for everyone who sees a poppy like this or even orange ones in a field to think of the sacrifice made by veterans.

May 26, 2023 is National Poppy Day. Wear your poppy proudly this month!

To learn more about the ALA’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit or meet the ladies of the Fair Oaks Unit 383 at their website:

Source: CA State American Legion Auxiliary