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'Poppy Day' to raise funds for veterans, youths
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Paper poppies are returning to Covington Nov. 9, and local residents will have a chance to get a poppy to remember fallen veterans and donate to help area veterans and youths.

The crepe-paper poppies are handed out each year in advance of Veterans Day by the American Legion Auxiliary — comprised of the wives and daughters of war veterans — as one of the organization’s main fundraisers. Covington Auxiliary Unit 32 will be handing out poppies from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Kroger on U.S. Highway 278 and at the Walmart on Industrial Boulevard. Marcia Floyd, chairwoman of the poppy project, said the poppies are available for free to all, but the group does accept donations.

The Auxiliary normally raises $1,000 each year and spends it on veterans and children, Floyd said, including sending students to Girls State — an Auxiliary project that teaches young women about the workings of state government — and donating to the USO (United Service Organizations) and Fisher House Foundation, which provides free or low-cost lodging to veterans and military families. The Auxiliary is also a big supporter of the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville, including hosting bi-annual bingo events and buying Christmas gifts for veterans to give to their families, Floyd said. The tradition of using red poppies in remembrance of fallen veterans was actually started after World War I by Moina Michael of Good Hope, Ga., in Walton County. The red poppy is based on the famous war poem "In Flanders Fields," written by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae, who described the phenomenon of red poppies growing between white memorial crosses on barren fields previously destroyed by mustard gas, Floyd said. The paper poppies are made by disabled veterans, as they have been for years, to provide a source of income for the veterans, Floyd said.