Before Memorial Day in 1922, we conducted our first poppy distribution, becoming the first veterans' organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, as it remains today.
As yesterday's defenders of freedom, we want to welcome today's military service members into our ranks to become part of our elite group. Our common bond is the battlefield, whether it is service in the Persian Gulf, Korea, Kosovo, the war on terrorism or peace-keeping expeditionary campaigns. Your courage and sacrifice have made a difference in preserving and defending world peace.