HOLDEN, Mass. — Members of Holden's American Legion Post will be in the center of town this weekend to conduct their annual poppy sale, a fundraiser that allows the group to extend a helping hand to other local veterans.
In honor of the multitude of American servicemen and women who served the country in war, families across the United States will observe Veterans Day this Sunday. Originally known as Armistice Day, the national holiday was set aside to honor veterans of World War I, to be observed annually on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, when fighting first ceased between the allied nations and Germany.
The symbol of poppies also harkens back to World War I, as the bright red flowers emerged from the torn up trenches and covered battlefields in parts of Europe, and now signify remembrance of the sacrifice of veterans.
To help raise money for veterans' families, John E Harkins Post 42 will be at the Mobil Station in the center of town from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, giving poppies away for a suggested donation of $1.
"One hundred percent of the what's raised goes right to local vets," said American Legion Commander Anthony Renzoni, who said each year the post helps 10 to 20 families with gift-cards to stores like Walmart and Toys R' Us so veterans can enjoy the holidays with their families.
Renzoni has likened the endeavor to how soldiers carry their fellow soldiers through the battlefield – not as a form of charity, but as veterans helping veterans.
Veterans Service Officer Karen Greenwood gives the post recommendations for families of veterans she knows may need help.
Additionally, veterans can contact Renzoni at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the veterans agent at (508) 210-5529 if they are in need of assistance or would like to nominate someone for assistance. Those who would like to donate gift cards or funds to help the effort can also reach out to Renzoni.