Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Did you buy a poppy yet?

You’ll see them out in the community, at the malls and at grocery stores: proud military veterans offering poppies for a donation. Every nine-piece poppy is painstakingly assembled by disabled and needy veterans, the bright red color symbolizing the bloodshed and sacrifices made by those who fought for our country. Proceeds are exclusively used to assist hospitalized and disabled veterans.

Dedicated veterans who make the poppies earn a small wage; for some, it’s their only income. The labor of love gives them a priceless sense of pride and accomplishment.

Poppies date back to the Belgium battlefields of World War I. Surrounded by soil damaged by death and destruction, red poppies somehow grew wild. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian military wrote about the flower in his 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row that mark our place…” McCrae’s poem inspired Madame E. Guerin, founder of the American and French Children’s League to choose the poppy as the most fitting memorial flower.

Guerin persuaded veterans’ organizations in several countries to sell the poppy to benefit underprivileged children in France. By the early 1920’s, Guerin had brought her campaign to the United States, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion were distributing poppies.

Today, the little red flower’s trademark is the Buddy Poppy, so named for the poppy makers and the memories of their friends who never returned home from war. Silk flowers today are made by veterans in 11 different locations around the country, including Milwaukee. Over three quarters of a billion Buddy Poppies have been sold by the Veterans of Foreign Wars for the aid, assistance, relief, and comfort of needy or disabled veterans or members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans.

The cost of making the poppies really doesn’t matter. The memorial Buddy Poppy is given by a needy veteran in exchange for a contribution. Offering the poppies helps the Veterans of Foreign Wars live up to their longtime motto, “to honor the dead by helping the living.” Please consider a generous donation when you see these wonderful veterans, and wear your poppy as a remembrance of those who served and died for our country.

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