American Legion poppies are assembled primarily by disabled veterans, and the proceeds from the fund-raising campaign are used exclusively for the benefit of disabled and needy veterans and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans. The basic purpose of the annual poppy distribution is eloquently reflected in the desire to “honor the dead by helping the living.”
The annual distribution of poppies has been officially recognized and endorsed by the nation since 1921. The scope of the poppy and its connection with the memory of those who have died in war has been expanded to help the living by the inspiration and dedication of two women who promoted this same “memorial flower” as the means by which funds could be raised to support those in need of help, most especially servicemen and civilians suffering from physical and mental hardship as a result of war.
More information about the story of the poppy distribution can be found online at http://www.greatwar.co.uk/article/remembrance-poppy.htm.