The Legion’s lapel Poppy is a sacred symbol of Remembrance and should not be affixed with a pin that obstructs the Poppy. The Poppy should be worn on the left side, over the heart.
When a poppy is removed, it should be stored appropriately, or disposed of respectfully. We encourage anyone who finds a Poppy that has fallen to the ground to pick it up, brush it off, wear it or dispose of it with respect.
The lapel poppy should be worn during the Remembrance period, from the last Friday in October until November 11. The Legion encourages the wearing of poppies at funerals of Veterans, and for any commemorative event such as a memorial service, the anniversary of theBattle of the Atlantic, Battle of Britain or the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
A large part of the Poppy Campaign and Remembrance period is about paying respects to our fallen Veterans. The Legion is proud to present the next iteration of “Poppy Stories.” Through this initiative, people can scan a lapel Poppy with a smartphone at poppystories.ca and be taken to meaningful short stories about everyday Canadians who dedicated their lives to serving our country. This year, which marks the 75th anniversary of the first United Nations peacekeeping mission, the focus will be on an additional 50 new Poppy Stories, highlighting the lives of Veterans who took part in peacekeeping assignments.
Every year, millions of Canadians wear a poppy as a visual pledge to never forget those who served and sacrificed. The red flower also is the symbol of the Royal Canadian Legion's Poppy Campaign, raising funds to support veterans and their families in need. We invite everyone across the country to show their recognition by proudly wearing this symbol of Remembrance.
The significance of the poppy can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. Records from that time indicate that thick poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in Flanders, France. Fields that had been barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.
In May, 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario, a Canadian Medical Officer during the World War I, introduced the poppy to Canada and the Commonwealth. Lt.-Col. McCrae penned the poem “In Flanders Fields” on a scrap of paper following the death of a fellow soldier. Little did he know then that those 13 lines would become enshrined in the hearts and minds of all who would wear a poppy in the decades to follow. McCrae’s poem was first published in Punch Magazine in December of that year.
The concept of the Remembrance Poppy was initiated by Madame Anna Guérin of France. Inspired by John McCrae’s poem, she founded a charity to help rebuild regions of France after World World I and created poppies made of fabric to raise funds. Later, Anna presented her concept to France’s allies, including the precursor to the Royal Canadian Legion, The Great War Veterans Association. The idea was considered at a meeting in Port Arthur, Ontario and formally adopted on July 6, 1921.
The Poppy is worn each year during the Remembrance period, from the last Friday in October until November 11th, to honour Canada's Fallen. The Legion also encourages the wearing of a Poppy at the funeral of a veteran and for any commemorative event honouring fallen veterans. Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear the Legion’s lapel poppy each November, the little red flower has never died, and the memories of those who fell in battle remain strong.
“In Flanders Fields” is the classic poem of remembrance written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario. The second son of three children born to Lt-Col. David McCrae and his wife Janet, young John displayed an early interest in both the military and writing poetry while attending Guelph Collegiate Institute.He was a member of the Highfield Cadet Corps and later the Militia field battery commanded by his father.McCrae
McCrae’s creative writing efforts continued through his educational years at the University of Toronto as he published several short stories and poems while earning his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Medicine degrees.He also continued his military connections as a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles ultimately rising to company captain.
McCrae deferred a fellowship in pathology at McGill University in 1899 to lead an artillery battery from his home town in the South African War. He subsequently returned to Montreal and established a busy medical practice in Montreal.
When war broke out in 1914, McCrae was among the first to volunteer for service. He was appointed medical officer with the First Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. That service took him to the trenches near Ypres, Belgium in the area traditionally known as Flanders.He tended to hundreds of wounded during some of the heaviest fighting of World War I.
The day before McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” one of his closest friends was killed in action and buried in a simple, makeshift grave. The site was marked with a simple wooden cross amid the many wild poppies that were beginning to bloom. Unable to do anything else for his friend nor any of the other fatalities, McCrae gave them a voice that was ultimately to echo through the ages.
Shortly thereafter, McCrae was transferred to No. 3 (McGill) Canadian General Hospital in France as Chief of Medical Service. Here, he and his staff tended to the scores of wounded from battles at the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Arras and Passchendaele. He continued to write letters and poetry as an escape from his many administrative pressures at the hospital.
Troubled by severe asthma attacks and bronchitis through late 1917, McCrae was moved to No. 14 British General Hospital for Officers. Pneumonia and meningitis set in and he died on January 28, 1918. He was buried with full military honours in Wimereux Cemetery, just north of Boulogne and not far from the Flanders fields he had immortalized.
Before he died, however, McCrae had the satisfaction of knowing his little poem had become a great success. It became the most popular poem on World War I, was translated into many languages and used on billboard ads promoting the sale of Canada’s first Victory Loan Bonds in 1917. Largely due to the poem’s popularity, the poppy became the Flower of Remembrance in honour to the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and many other Commonwealth countries.
Today, people still pay tribute to “In Flanders Fields” creator by visiting McCrae House, the little limestone cottage in Guelph where he was born.
COMRADE CHUCK SIMPSON, CD has been named Poppy Chair of the Year for the Legion’s District E. The award was presented at the recent District E convention in Barrie.
“This was quite the shock to me,” said Comrade Simpson. He was quick to acknowledge “For me to get this award, it is not just me. There were a great many people who came out in support of the Poppy Campaign. It was a major team effort plain and simple.”
Among the group Simpson named are the Legion members, the cadets from 85 Tornado Air Cadet Squadron from Grand Valley, the cadets from 1849 Army Cadet Corps here in Orangeville, fellow citizens from the local area (including our current mayor), the many, many stores, schools, churches and businesses, OPP, Fire, EMS who allowed us to canvass inside and place poppy counter boxes for everyone's use. So many canvassing, dropping off and picking up poppy boxes, ordering supplies, rolling coins, depositing the money to the great deal of paper work completed to get this event going.
“This was a team effort,“ added Simpson, “leading to a successful Poppy Campaign which will allow us to support our Veterans and their families. Again, I thank all for your support and effort and I am looking forward to this year's upcoming campaign.”
Comrade Simpson has served as the local Poppy Chair for many years and, in addition, currently serves as First Vice President of Orangeville’s Legion Branch 233.
Greetings to one and all from the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 233 Orangeville. Have you ever wondered where the monies donated during our Poppy Campaign go? Well let me show you one of the programs (Operation Service Dog) (PTSD) that provides support to one group of our veterans.
Looking at the picturest above, what do you see? Individually you see a dog and a man. Put them together, you see “MAGIC”. The time and effort to put these two souls together is quite expensive, but by doing so, you make for a better life for one of our veterans who stepped up and did his duty for us and his country.
I have met both comrades and yes, I consider Chandler a comrade, and in the very short time from meeting them, the difference in the quality of life for that veteran is extra-ordinary. You can not ask for anymore (may I say) value from monies donated to a worthy cause.
So, when you see the members of the Legion out canvassing during the upcoming Poppy Campaign (starts Friday 25 October 2019) please remember that picture and what a life changing impact it has had on one of our veterans.
“Lest We Forget” “We Will Remember”
Royal Canadian Legion, "Col. Fitzgerald" Branch
7 John Street, PO Box 141, Orangeville, ON L9W 2Z5 Canada
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