Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day - November 11

With today being November 11, Remembrance Day in Canada, I'd like to take a moment to comment on the importance of the poppy, the symbol of remembrance.

No Price Too High

What does a poppy cost? Would you donate a twoonie or a quarter...or maybe even a five dollar bill?

November 11 is here. The days when you would be greeted by distinguished Veterans offering poppies in malls and in subway stations seem to be a relic of the past as many vets have passed away. 

I am an Associate member of the Canadian Legion, having had several relatives involved in both world wars. In my 10 years of volunteering in the Legion's annual Poppy Campaign, I have been saddened to see donations are dwindling. Perhaps it's no longer sufficient to recognize that these brave individuals fought for our freedom. I've actually heard people scoff that they never purchase poppies...because in their minds they fund the drinking sessions of old war mongers - men who like to sit around and glorify wars & fighting. Such opinions are not only incorrect but cruel. It's surprising to think that the cost of freedom isn't enough to make folks donate. Perhaps if people knew that their money went towards, they'd be more eager to contribute:

~ assistance to needy ex-service personnel & their families

~ medical equipment for community health centres & hospitals

~ bursaries for students

~ programs for seniors such as Meals on Wheels

All of these good deeds are done with little to no press coverage or fanfare. Yes, the money does pay for an easier life for those folk who fought to keep Canada free, but also benefits all of us in the communities in which we live. Communities that would be quite different if certain sacrifices weren't made by these veterans.

What does a poppy cost? Truth be told, there is no cost associated with the Remembrance Day poppy. Ask a veteran and they'll tell you that the cost is up to the individual...as the cost of freedom cannot be measured. There is no price too high.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post!! As a fellow Canadian I am proud to see others are also fighting to keep the memory alive!!

tracey said...

Thanks for the Remembrance Day post. My grandpa was in the navy - WW II. My hero.

Emily said...

I too proudly wear my poppy every year. In fact, I brought a Canadian poppy with me when I moved to England because ours are far nicer than the icky paper ones the Brits wear.

Thankfully, I saw a lot of students at the university I work at wearing their poppies. It's very important for young people today to be interested in learning about the World Wars because, unfortunately, soon we won't have many or any veterans who will be able to share their first-hand experiences with us, and a lot of the importance of these contributions will be forgotten.

May I put in a plug for a very worthwhile cause? I would recommend that anyone who is in northern France at any time, please go and visit the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy. It is a fully bilingual museum commemorating the Canadian contributions to the D-Day landing, focussing on the Canadians' landing on Juno Beach. My sister is the Customer Services manager at the JBC, and I myself have visited twice since she started work there. It's a fantastic centre, full of important history and personal stories from many of our veterans. You can go on a guided beach tour, there are temporary exhibits that change every six months or year, and a visit to the JBC is something that I think every Canadian who travels in Europe should do in their lifetime. Here's the website: http://www.junobeach.org/

Thanks for posting about Remembrance Day, LTG.

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