The first time DAV members ever sold little, blue 'Forget-Me-Not' to the public was on February 24, 1926. The first Forget-Me-Not Drive was held to raise funds to support DAV services and assistance desperately needed by veterans disabled in World War I.
The DAV wasn't the first veterans' organization to support some of its humanitarian work through the sale of artificial flowers. Actually, the DAV was picking up on the idea that later became an international tradition now shared by veterans' groups in more than 50 countries.
The idea behind the 'Forget-Me-Not' flower grew out of an image carried home from the First World War in the memories of soldiers who had seen spring flowers growing among the graves of comrades and allies killed in the fighting.
The scene, with its promise of new life following the sacrifices of so many, was immortalized in the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae, thus capturing the hearts of people yearning for peace.
The flower soon became the accepted symbol for commemorating those who had fallen in war. This small flower says, "Please, don't forget me" for those who had come home as well as for those who had given their lives.
It's an appropriate symbol to remind us continually of the service and sacrifice that make our way of life possible. This symbol of living history is a legacy that continues to serve veterans of all eras today as it did in the aftermath of World War I.
This symbol of remembrance has been the staple of Chapter-level fundraising efforts, which provides assistance to your local heroes. Your support of our mission honors our heroes and makes our grassroots service initiatives possible.
The public responds well to Forget-Me-Not drives because it believes in the DAV and knows our organization has consistently been there to assist all disabled veterans and their families. The American people trust you to spend every penny they donate in our drive wisely for the good of disabled veterans who need the DAV's help.
Thank you for your remembrance and for helping us fulfill our promises to the men and women who served.