“In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row” We all know the words; we’ve read them, recited them, memorized them since grade school. I’m 31 years old and I can still recite it, almost verbatim, hands clasped, memories of the middle school gym floating behind my eyes. Each year on November 11th we honour those who have fought and sacrificed so much through remembrance, reflection, and the donning of a little plastic poppy over our hearts. As John McCrae wrote, it marks their place in our hearts and minds for all that they did. But what does the poppy actually do?
Each year the Poppy Campaign of the Royal Canadian Legion raises millions of dollars to support veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP and their families who are in need. Funds raised go towards:
Grants for food, heating costs, clothing, prescription medication, medical appliances and equipment, essential home repairs and emergency shelter or assistance
- Housing accommodation and care facilities
- Funding for Veteran Transition Programs that are directly related to the training, education and support needs of Veterans and their families
- Comforts for Veterans and their surviving spouses who are hospitalized and in need
- Veterans visits, transportation, reading programs and day trips
- Accessibility modifications to assist Veterans with disabilities
- Educational bursaries for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Veterans
- Community drop-in centres, meals-on-wheels, and seniors services in communities where Veterans would benefit
- Community medical appliances, medical training and medical research which will assist in the care of Veterans in the community
- Support the work of Legion Command and Branch Service Officers across Canada in assisting and representing Veterans
- Donations for relief of disasters declared by federal or provincial governments which impact Veteran in those communities
- Promotion and administering of Remembrance activities to ensure Canadians never forget the sacrifices of Canada’s Veterans
The tradition of Remembrance Day was started to commemorate the ending of hostilities of WW1, but we cannot forget that veterans are still being created every day. Our friends and family continue to sacrifice for and support our country and it’s ideals of which we are all very proud. Honouring our troops goes beyond just showing others you know how to pin a poppy, it must be matched with tangible support or it’s all for naught. Many have lost so much more than you or I could know; it’s only right to help as much as we can.