As I looked at the July 29 front-page photograph of the ceramic poppies art installation commemorating the start of World War I, I was reminded of the sacrifices of the lives lost in the Great War — not just here in the United States but worldwide.
It was in this war that the poppy became a symbol for the bloodshed in Flanders Field. Each year, as many are aware, the Veterans of Foreign Wars puts donation cans out the week before Memorial Day and distributes the poppy as a sign of remembrance. Many establishments support this effort and readily agree to help by letting our volunteers collect for the cause. These donations go to support many veterans’ causes and VFW orphanages.
I approached our local Giant Eagle about our wish to set up a table and was told no. I was told that it was corporate policy that only the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the Salvation Army had permission to solicit at their stores.
Now I am not begrudging or downplaying these fine organizations. All I am asking is for Giant Eagle to change its policy and allow the poppy to be distributed — not solicited — once a year, to continue this tradition of remembrance.
Robert F. Jenkins
The writer is chaplain of VFW Post 274 in Hazelwood.