These small, red flowers are dear to my heart. They are provided (with a donation) as a fundraiser by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and benefit disabled and needy veterans around the country. What is really neat, is that those veterans who will directly benefit from the monies raised are also they ones who assemble the small sweet flowers. Programs are set up in VA hospitals to make the buddy poppys and active VFW members set up outside grocery stores and shops to offer them to the public.
I grew up watching my grandpa sell these every year. For Pop, buddy poppy time was a season of the year, we all knew when it was coming and knew he would be out in the community every day. He was a very active member in his local VFW, serving as President for many years. I have so so many memories of being with him at VFW events, he was a dedicated military man and a dedicated VFW member. He was also the most sweet and gentle man with white hair and a deep love for his family.
So today, when I walked up to Vons and saw those sweet men with their white hair and pin-covered VFW hats, I felt the lump in my throat and new I would have to stop on my way out. And I did. And I told them my grandpa sold these for many years and he was very, very dear to me and I miss him very much. And then I walked out to my car and called my mom and texted my brother to tell them it was buddy poppy time. And closed the door and cried.
So if you see these sweet men with white hair and pin-covered hats, please consider stopping by. You could drop in fifty cents and they would love you.