Memorial Day is on May 29.

The Los Banos American Legion Post 166 and VFW Post 2487 will hold their annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Los Banos Cemetery, 16575 Center Ave, Los Banos.

The community is invited to attend the ceremony, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. Additionally, at 3 p.m. a national moment of remembrance will take place.

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War, this changed after World War I.

Now the holiday has evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. The day after Memorial Day, you may see members of the local VFW at various locations throughout town distributing “Buddy Poppies.”

The Story of the Buddy Poppy began towards the end of World War I. The bloodshed on the fields of France were represented by the “red” poppy which was seen growing there.

The poem “In Flander’s Fields” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (Belgium – 1915) described the landscape of the time. The poem begins, “In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow…” and the immortal poem is dedicated to the memory of the men and women who served, fought and died in France during WWI.

The poppies, of which he wrote, have become the true symbol of all those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.

Since 1922, the Veterans of Foreign Wards of the United States has conducted an annual distribution of the Buddy Poppy to raise funds for its charitable programs on behalf of the needy and disabled veterans and the surviving family members of deceased veterans.

So, on May 30, from 9 a.m. – noon, VFW members will be at Walmart, the Post Office, Mechanics Bank, Tractor Supply, Los Banos Drug, Hobby Lobby, Save Mart and Home Depot passing out Buddy Poppies.

The Buddy Poppies are distributed as a reminder of our fallen comrades. Donations will be accepted but are not required in order to receive a Buddy Poppy.

Patricia McCoy

Patricia McCoy is a US Air Force veteran and the chairperson of the Los Banos Veterans Parade. She can be reached at (209) 587-5033.