Longtime Tehachapi resident and American Legion Auxiliary member Pat Gracey receives the First Poppy from Auxiliary Girls State Delegate Irey Sandholt.

Each May, members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 221 along with members of the American Legion Post offer poppies to the community to remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.

The poppy became the memorial flower of the Auxiliary in 1921. The red petals stand for the vast outpouring of blood, the yellow and black center, the mud and desolation of all battlefields. The green of the stem is symbolic of the forests, meadows and fields where generations of Americans have perished to make this land free. The stem represents the courage and determination of our fallen warriors. The poppies offered by the Auxiliary are individually made by disabled veterans in hospitals and poppy workrooms. The veterans are paid for each poppy they make and in some cases that is the only spending money they receive.

At the April Auxiliary meeting, longtime member and past president Pat Gracey, was presented the First Poppy by Irey Sandholt, 2019 Girls State delegate.

The Auxiliary and members of the Post will offer poppies the week of May 13 to 19. There is no charge, but donations are greatly appreciated. All funds stay in Tehachapi and are used to help veterans and their families. Look for us at Albertsons, Flying J Truck Stop and Tractor Supply.

Be sure to wear your poppy on Memorial Day.

Linda Carmichael is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.