The following is an excerpt from a news story published by the DAV many years ago pertaining to the origin of Forget-Me-Not drives:
In the Meuse-Argonne Forest the last big decisive “push” of the World War was fought and won by the allies on Argonne Day, which was September 26th. The Disabled American Veterans of the World War enlisted the aid of the general public in waging the battle for justice still being fought by thousands of unfortunate disabled veterans whose claims for government treatment and compensation had been denied because of the deficiencies of the law or of the evidence submitted by them.
On that date Forget-Me-Nots were first offered for sale in every large town and city throughout the nation, to a grateful people who had not forgotten their wartime promises that nothing would be too good for the returned soldier. The wearing of a Forget-Me-Not on Argonne Day, therefore, meant much more than the expression of a sentiment; it carried with it as well, the fact that the wearer was performing an unselfish service in assisting unfortunate and needy Disabled American Veterans. By remembering the living, we can best honor the dead. Through the sale of the little blue flowers of remembrance, the DAV hoped to realize sufficient funds to carry on its important work for the coming years.
The first Forget-Me-Not Day was February 24, 1926.
At the Detroit Convention, July 31, 1929, Argonne Day, September 26, and Armistice Day, Nov. 11, were designated as Forget-Me-Not Days with the understanding that units may conduct a drive on dates other than the above because of weather conditions or other local circumstances.
In accordance with the custom established at the White House at the time of the Disabled Veterans of the World War’s first annual appeal to the public through the medium of the Forget-Me-Not sale, President Calvin Coolidge, while at the summer White House, issued a proclamation calling upon the people of the U.S. to support the organization’s call for assistance in which he commended the DAV as one of the agencies which has given the government needed assistance by assisting in every possible way in alleviating the sufferings of those veterans of the recent conflict for whom the war still endures.
There are many legends and stories concerning the Forget-Me-Not, of course none have been verified; however, here are two such tales:
“God was looking at the world that He had created and felt that He needed to place beautiful colors as a finishing touch to make the world a joy for the eye and the soul. He then told the little cherubs that they would be sent to earth to give pleasure to man by blooming as bright and glorious flowers,” said the account. ‘These will remind man that whenever there is desperation and the feeling that all is lost they have only to look around and see one of you in all your majesty.’ After He had almost completed His work the tiniest, chubbiest and youngest cherub came to Him for the third time and jumped on His lap. ‘Father what am I supposed to be?’ God looked down at him and with a smile and a pat on the cherub’s head He said, ‘Forget Me-Not.’”
According to history, during the reign of King Edward, a young man and his lady were strolling on the margin of a lake. They discovered some flowers some distance from the lake’s inner bank. In the true spirit of chivalry, the lad swam to the off shore island and plucked the flowers for the lady. As he was returning, feeling that he could not reach the shore, he cast a last affectionate look toward the lady, threw the flowers and said, “Forget-Me-Not.”
A spokesperson said, “It is our ‘Forget-Me-Not’ sale that says to everyone throughout the year ‘Remember Me.’ When we pass the flowers to eager hands upon the street we are saying, ‘Remember and Forget me not, I am a Disabled American Veteran.’”