Purchase a poppy to give your thanks

Money raised through the annual poppy sale stays in the community

They are already out in force in communities across the country.

They, in this case being the wonderful folks out raising money during the annual poppy campaign.

Don’t forget to pick one up.

As always, money raised (between now and Remembrance Day) through the annual poppy sale stays in the community and helps veterans who live in the area.

The poppy has become the international symbol of remembrance representing a visual pledge to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for the preservation of peace and freedom. The poppy campaign was created as a means to raise funds in order to perpetuate this sacred memory and provide for veterans and their families in their time of need.

Legion Branches throughout B.C. and the Yukon organize the annual campaign in their respective areas. In Barriere it’s Branch 242.

The meaning of the poppy is enduring. The blood-red flower was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields in Western Europe. Its significance was realized by Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ written in 1915. The poppy quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in conflict.

The Royal British Legion distributed the first poppies in Canada in November 1921.

Legion members will be giving out the red-and-black lapel pins — a symbol of remembrance for the Canadian men and women who have served in war and military support operations. There will also be boxes at stores, restaurants and various other local businesses.

It bears repeating every year that we need to assist our veterans. It is impossible to ever repay them for their sacrifice. Our country would not be what it is today without them.

Poppy funds raise money for things like food, heating costs, clothing, prescription medication, medical equipment, essential home repairs and emergency shelter.

A year ago, poppy sales jumped to 19 million (from 18 million the previous year) during the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, as well as the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War.

It’s important to maintain those numbers and the symbol that is the poppy. Fir instance, last year, the City of Nanaimo planted 67,000 poppy seeds at their war memorial cenotaph downtown to commemorate all the Canadian soldiers that died in the First World War.

Virtually all of our families have connections to people who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. So for many, the poppy has special personal meaning.

Whether it’s because of that personal connection, to honour the memory of others we have lost, or to support the current and future brave men and women who serve our country, wearing the poppy retains an enormous significance.

Don’t forget to pick one up.

Black Press