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BOBI-poppyUT’s Task Force in Support of Student Veterans plans to distribute 1,000 “Buddy Poppies” to faculty, staff, and students to wear the week before Memorial Day, May 19 through 24.

Last year, the Task Force passed out 1,000 poppies, and had more than 500 additional requests.

The Buddy Poppy movement was started by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization after World War I. It was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae, which described the red poppies growing on a battle site where many soldiers were buried. Later, some poppies became a source of income opportunities for VFW offices, and UT’s poppies are made by veterans in Tennessee.

Artificial poppies are often worn on Memorial Day and Veterans Day in the United States and on Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom.

Buddy Poppies at UT will be distributed on a card displaying “In Flanders Field.” The Task Force encourages campus faculty, staff, and students to keep the cards visible throughout the year to show support for UT veterans.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, there were more than 900 student veterans.

To request a poppy for yourself or for your office, contact Mary Mahoney (, 974-7791). To request multiple poppies, combine individual orders into one group order. The Task Force will deliver the poppies the week before the event.

The Task Force in Support of Student Veterans was established in the fall of 2011 to acknowledge the sacrifices of veterans and provide resources and support for veterans on campus. It is housed in the Center for Health Education and Wellness. For more information on the Task Force or to find out how you can get involved, visit the task force’s website or email Ashley Blamey at