As of March 8, the days of winter were being left behind. In rapid succession, Daylight Saving time was followed by St. Patrick’s Day, flowering trees and blooming plants.
Also, veterans organizations are preparing for that most solemn day of all days on their annual calendar: Memorial Day.
The coming month of May is poppy distribution month. In order to reach the public and distribute our poppies, we must obtain permission from a business owner to stand outside his premises and distribute our poppies to shoppers. A permit issued by the North Brunswick Police Department is a follow up to permission granted by a specific merchant.
Over the years we have had the support of many locally owned or managed businesses. As an example, this year we will be stationed at the Omega Diner, ShopRite, the two Quick Chek stores, Roberto’s Pizza, A&G Italian Fine Foods and IHOP.
Certain corporate stores have policies that do not allow for our type of activity. As much as we enjoy their products and their contribution to our local taxes, these national corporations are in our community but not part of it. Our veterans organizations and their members are local people, part of the community. The donations received from the poppy program are used 100% to aid veterans and their families, military personnel and their families and various other veteran needs in the community.
The poppy represents one American serviceman who has made the supreme sacrifice for our nation. Denying his former comrades in arms the ability to distribute poppies not only impacts the cash flow of the veterans organizations, it is also an act of disrespect to the Gold Star veteran the poppy represents.
Richard Pender is the senior vice commander of American Legion Post 459 in North Brunswick. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.