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Krista Drechsel is this year’s Poppy Girl

2009 Poppy Girl Krista Drechsel of Bayview: “I really hope to show children the importance of Memorial Day.” - Roy Jacobson / The Record
2009 Poppy Girl Krista Drechsel of Bayview: “I really hope to show children the importance of Memorial Day.”
— image credit: Roy Jacobson / The Record

Krista Drechsel will have a Memorial Day to remember.

The 11-year-old South Whidbey Intermediate School fifth-grader is this year’s Poppy Girl. She’ll lay a wreath at Bayview Cemetery on Monday morning in honor of those who took part in the nation’s wars.

She’ll also give a speech urging people never to forget the sacrifices made on behalf of the country.

“I really hope to show children the importance of Memorial Day and why it’s observed,” she said.

Every year since the 1920s, each chapter of the 900,000 American Legion Ladies Auxiliary selects a Poppy Girl to represent it at local Memorial Day ceremonies.

A primary fundraiser of the auxiliary and disabled veterans organizations, who make the pins, the deep red crepe-paper poppies represent blood spilled on the battlefields of Belgium during World War I, and in all subsequent conflicts. A poppy pin is given for each donation.

Krista will represent the 165 members of South Whidbey American Legion Auxiliary No. 141 at the cemetery just south of Highway 525 at Bayview and Howard roads. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Monday.

Krista, daughter of Loretta and Quinn Drechsel of Bayview, is a junior member of the local auxiliary. She helped distribute poppies last year, and put her name in for Poppy Girl this year.

Her mother said Krista’s father’s family’s military participation dates back to the Civil War. Krista’s mother’s father took part in the Korean conflict, serving as a paymaster to troops.

In school, Krista enjoys math and history, and plays the clarinet in the combined band for the intermediate and middle schools. She said she plans to wear the dress she uses for band concerts at the cemetery ceremony.

Krista’s also a mediator at school, helping other students with their problems, and she often volunteers to clean up in the classroom and to pick up trash outside on the school grounds.

She has a pen pal in Kuwait, and although she has yet to study about the nation’s wars, she feels the first Gulf War, in which the United States came to the aid of Kuwait after an Iraq invasion, was justified.

“The only wars I think are good are the ones where we go and help,” she said.

Sue Steele of the local auxiliary said poppy pins will be available at several locations, including Sebo’s Do-It Center in Bayview, Ace Hardware in Freeland and the Red Apple at Ken’s Korner.

She urged everyone to display his or her poppy pin on Memorial Day weekend.

“Wear it in honor of the millions of Americans who have willingly served our nation,” she said.

To volunteer to distribute poppy pins, call 321-6638.

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