From left, Technical Sergeant William B. Snell VFW Post 7186 members Milton Tooma, Kenneth Wideman, Lynne Tooma (auxiliary), and Bill Petty collecting donations and offering poppies outside Valli Produce on May 25. (RoundTable photo)

In anticipation of Memorial Day, veterans of VFW Snell Post 7146 and its auxiliary are selling poppies.

The red poppy has become a symbol of World War I, as poppies sprang up on many of the battle sites in France and Belgium. Scientists attribute this to the relics of cannon balls and other war rubble that enriched the soils there.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D., who served on the front lines in World War I, wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields.” On Sept. 27, 1920, the American Legion took the poppy as its official flower to remember soldiers who died in the wars.

Beginning at 10 a.m. on May 31, American Legion Post 42 will host a Memorial Day community reflection and ceremony at Fountain Square, honoring America’s fallen. The ceremony will include non-denominational reflections, singing, and remarks by elected officials and leaders of local veterans groups, including Evanston American Legion Post 42 and Technical Sergeant William B. Snell VFW Post 7186.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...