The VFW conducted its
first poppy distribution before Memorial Day in 1922, becoming the first
veterans' organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon
was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of
the United States.
It was during the 1923 encampment that the VFW decided that VFW Buddy Poppies
be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to
provide them with some form of financial assistance. The plan was formally
adopted during the VFW's 1923 encampment. The next year, disabled veterans at
the Buddy Poppy factory in Pittsburgh assembled VFW Buddy Poppies. The
designation "Buddy Poppy" was adopted at that time.
In February 1924, the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the
U.S. Patent Office. A certificate was issued on May 20, 1924, granting the VFW
all trademark rights in the name of Buddy under the classification of
artificial flowers. The VFW has made that trademark a guarantee that all
poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of
disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can
legally use the name "Buddy" Poppy.
Today, VFW Buddy Poppies are still assembled by disabled and needy veterans in
VA Hospitals and State Veteran Homes.
The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides
compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial
assistance in maintaining state and national veterans' rehabilitation and
service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and
widows of our nation's veterans.