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We heard from a former Pocomoke City resident who mentioned that reading recently about the World War I hundred year anniversary triggered his recollections of poppy day here in the 1950's and early 1960's. The paper poppy observance started nationwide after the war and was widely observed for many decades. In many instances the paper poppies, honoring our veterans, were made by disabled veterans who would benefit from their sale.
"There were of course many articles and stories about the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. They talked about how hundreds of millions of red poppies - both real and artificial - are being distributed across the UK and in fact all of Europe. The article said that tradition is now fading in America but is still very strong in Europe. Remember when they used to give those out in Pocomoke? I think it was the VFW - the poppies were red paper with a wire "stem." Every year before Armistice Day - as we then called it - someone would bring a big basket of them to (my parents') store and they could give them to anyone who came in. I wonder if any of these VFW posts are still doing that.
One of the articles I read explained the origin of the tradition. Apparently the seeds of the corn poppy flower are virtually indestructible. They can lie dormant underground for many years. As the battle raged across Europe, many entire villages were destroyed. Bombs and artillery excavated massive amounts of soil replacing what had been homes, farms and commercial buildings. As armies moved in to pick up the wounded and remove the dead, they often found the fields overrun with these red poppies which had sprouted from the unearthed seeds."
Footnote: This was the original English Grill located on East Main Street in Salisbury about a block from the Rt. 13 Boulevard. Later English Grills/English's Family Restaurants populated numerous Delmarva locations as well as on the western shore but none remain today.
A bit of early English Grill history at below link: