Lest We Forget

Wear a Poppy

The international symbol of remembrance reflected in poppies

  • Nov. 5, 2014 6:00 p.m.

As Remembrance Day approaches, British Columbians and people all around the globe wear a red felt poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who gave their lives in the defence of freedom and to show respect to our veterans.

This year, Remembrance Day is especially poignant, as 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War. As time passes and fewer veterans are with us, it becomes increasingly important to show that we remember their sacrifice. It’s also a time to show respect for those who continue to fight in wars around the world.

Canadians have a long-standing tradition of donning a red poppy during the remembrance period from the last Friday in October until the end of the day on Nov. 11. The poppy is the international symbol of remembrance, and when you wear a poppy, you honour the war dead and help veterans and their families.

Following the shooting in Ottawa of a Canadian military reservist and the fatal hit-and-run of a veteran in Quebec, some Canadians have been requesting to wear a poppy before the campaign launches on Oct. 31.

Legions welcome them to show their support early, with many branches having poppies available at their location for those who stop by. However, donations could not be accepted until the campaign officially began on Oct. 31.

 

Since 1921, the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign has helped provide direct assistance for ex-service people in financial distress, as well as funding for medical appliances and research, home services, care facilities and numerous other purposes.

Angus Stanfield, president of the Legion in B.C.  and Yukon said, “When people wear the Poppy in November, it is a universal symbol of  respect. What people often don’t realize is that while we are indeed  recognizing veterans from long ago battles who fought and gave their  lives, there are others who need to see us wear it – modern-day veterans.

“They are here and so are their families, and they are deserving of our  respect. We wear the poppy for them with even more determination, because  they continue to make sacrifices day in and day out.”

 

Is there “poppy etiquette”?

 

• The poppy should always be fastened on clothing on the wearer’s left-hand side, close the heart. This is also true when the weather is poor and outer garments are necessary. Poppies should not be fastened on hats or other objects.

• Questions have been raised as to the appropriateness of using a Canada  flag pin or other similar fastener in the center of the poppy. While it  is the opinion of the Legion that the poppy, the sacred symbol of  remembrance, should not be defaced in any way, the Legion does recognize  that it is better to wear a poppy with a Canadian flag in the centre than  not to wear one at all.

• While the poppy is normally removed at the end of the day on Nov. 11,  many people now place their poppy at the base of the cenotaph at the end  of the Remembrance Day ceremony as a sign of respect to veterans.

 

The history of the poppy as an emblem of fallen soldiers:

 

• During the Napoleonic Wars, the poppy drew attention as the flower that  bloomed over the graves of fallen soldiers.

• In the 20th century, the poppy again was widely noticed after soils in  France and Belgium became rich in lime from rubble during the First World  War.

• In 1915, John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Forces  Artillery, wrote about this phenomenon in his famous poem, In Flanders  Fields.

• In 1920, Madame Anna Guérin of France visited the United States and met Moina Michael, an American woman who wore a poppy year-round to remember  the war dead after reading McCrae’s poem. Madame Guérin then sold  handmade poppies around Armistice Day to raise money for poor children in  war-torn areas of Europe.

• In 1921, the British Legion adopted the poppy as a symbol of  remembrance and sold poppies as part of its British Poppy Day Appeal,  which raised money for poor and disabled veterans.

• The same year, Guérin visited Canada and convinced the Great War  Veterans Association (predecessor to the Canadian Legion) to adopt the  poppy as a symbol of remembrance to aid in fundraising.

• Today, the Poppy Campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most  important programs with 18 million poppies and 70,000 wreaths, crosses  and sprays being distributed across Canada and overseas annually.

Learn More at:

About the B.C./Yukon Royal Canadian Legion: http://www.legionbcyukon.ca/

Veterans Affairs Canada: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng

 

Just Posted

Man who killed Langford teen attended her memorial service, demonstrates little remorse

Parole Board of Canada documents reveal factors in parole decision

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Victoria contractors file civil claims for work on Sooke Tim Hortons, Petro Canada

Contractors file civil suits against Petromaxx, T’Sou-ke First Nation

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

Saanich Police warn of counterfeit money being used

Several fake $100 bills have been reported in Greater Victoria

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read