Every year on Nov. 11, several Canadians gather in a collective moment of silence to honour the country’s soldiers and veterans.
With eyes closed and heads bowed, many of them wear a common symbol over their heart — the poppy.
In the West Shore, Royal Canadian Legion Prince Edward Branch 91 sets out for the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Day to hand out these poppies in exchange for a donation so people can wear them and always remember those who fought for the country.
The funds raised from the poppy campaign go towards helping veterans and families in need as well as community youth programs like cadets.
And while the legion was able to raise about $83,000 last year through the campaign, legion president Norm Scott said he thinks the importance of Remembrance Day is disappearing in the community.
“People are wearing the poppy less,” Scott said. “I believe the symbolism of Remembrance Day isn’t the same as what I grew up with and it’s unfortunate.”
Scott said he thinks Nov. 11 should be a national holiday and said that remembrance should be a part of everyday life.
He said Remembrance Day was a big occasion when he was in school.
“I don’t believe kids today learn the same stuff,” Scott said.
Scott said he believes the future lies in youth and that they should continue to be taught about the significance of Remembrance Day in order to carry it forward.
“The next stepping stone is to get youth involved,” Scott said. “Part of it is how the kids are taught and brought up by their parents to respect Remembrance Day and to be able to be told stories about what happened.”
Until then, he said things like the poppy campaign serve to inform community members about the importance of the holiday.
“Hopefully the tradition will never die,” Scott said. “If it wasn’t for the past we definitely wouldn’t be here today.”