Seventy-Five Years Ago

Thursday, April 18, 1946

Poppy, the Memorial Flower

How the wild poppy of France and Belgium became the memorial flower of America’s dead of both world wars was described by Mabel Lang, Poppy Chairman of Pocahontas Unit No. 50 of the American Legion Auxiliary, as the Unit went forward with preparations for observance of Poppy Day on May 25.

“Amid the desolation of the battlefield in the first world war,” said Miss Lang, “the poppies were the one touch of nature’s beauty that survived. The little red flowers grew along the trenches and shell holes and over the raw earth of the battle graves. In the minds of the men fighting there, the poppies became associated with their dead comrades.

“Expression was given to this sentiment by Colonel John McCrae, Canadian medical officer, in his immortal poem, with its lines:

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses row on row!”

Replicas of the Flanders fields poppy were first worn in America in honor of the war dead in 1918, and the wearing of these flowers on the Saturday before Memorial Day soon became a nationwide custom. The poppy is also the memorial flower of Great Britain and is worn throughout the British Empire on Armistice Day.

“When the second World War began claiming American lives, the poppy quite naturally became the symbol of these added sacrifices for the nation. The largest part of World War II battle deaths also occurred in northern Europe where the poppy grows, but no matter where Americans died, the poppy pays tribute to them.

“Disabled veterans of both wars now make the poppy to be worn in memory of the dead of both wars. Poppy Day contributions aid the disabled of both wars, their families, and the families of the dead. Millions of Americans will wear the veteran-made poppies of the American Legion Auxiliary this year in silent tribute to those who lie beneath the crosses in Flanders fields and in American war cemeteries throughout the world.


Seneca Trail Post No. 4595, VFW, at a regular meeting held April 11 at Marlinton, installed the following officers:

Commander Francis E. Smith, Senior Vice Commander Clark J. Brumagin, Junior Vice Commander Richard F. Currence, Quartermaster Thomas E. King, Adjutant Grady K. Moore, Chaplain Charles Edward McElwee, Trustees James E. Michael, R. Glenn Shrader and Walter Jett, Officer of the Day Arden J. Curry, Post Advocate Fred C. Allen, Post Historian James E. Beard, Publicity Officer William Harper and Patriotic Instructor Troy Mace…


Last Thursday afternoon Warren Sheets and June R. Galford, of Greenbank, were at the county seat with the fresh head and hide of as big a bear anybody would want to see, to claim the county bounty. They and about twenty of their neighbors had killed the bear that day on Little River Branch of the East Fork of the Greenbrier River. Hog dressed, the bear weighed 301 pounds. This would easily make him better than 400 pounds live weight. He was seven feet, six inches long. His hind foot was over nine inches long by six inches broad. The fur was good, and he cut an inch of fat.

On Wednesday, it was found that a big bear had killed a sheep the night before on North Fork of Deer Creek, near the mouth of Eleber Run. It was too late to organize a hunt that day, so things were fixed so if the bear came back to his kill that night, everything would be in readiness for a chase and a kill.

The bear did come back, and June R. Galford put his pack of trained bear dogs on the trail with about a dozen other dogs. Incidentally, June’s four dogs were in at the kill, with four more coming up shortly after.

The bear had gone less than a mile from his bait to lie down. The dogs soon had him up and going. It was a running fight for about six mile straight away, but farther round about the way they took….

While this was not the only bear on the North Fork by any means, by reason of his size it is figured he was the same big bear which had been chased across the mountain a few days before from the Laurel Branch of the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac.

Anyway, he was an old sheep eater, with plenty of experience in fighting off dogs. In the long chase, he never once offered to get up a tree to escape the dogs which were pressing him so closely.


We wonder sometimes whether or not the cry of “meat shortage” ever will cease. Seems no week can pass without its quota of news stories and radio alarms relative to critical scarcities which always are just around the corner, but which seldom actually arrive.

Hundreds of columns of type have been printed, and many millions of breathless words have warned us that packing plants were about to close permanently, that farmers would refuse to market their livestock, that retail butchers were going out of business, that Mrs. America soon would be feeding her family an 88 percent vegetable-grain diet.

Yet, somehow, most have meat from legitimate markets when we want it, and a great majority of us have been able to have the varieties and the cuts which best suit our fancy.

Where the cries of “wolf” originate, we cannot say, but we suspect that they stem from several sources…

Considering the facts as they have developed in most sections of the country, “shortage” announcements have commanded far more attention than was their due.

The result seems to be that the general public, far from being worked to fever pitch by the latest announcements of impending meat difficulties, now are regarding the information with a jaundiced eye. Even the hoarders who, earlier in the game, stored all the choice cuts they could buy in freezing lockers, have reduced their activities.

There comes a time when even the alarmists cannot become excited by stories oft-repeated, but seldom proved in the mathematics of reality – Cincinnati Enquirer

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