I have stated this before, but it’s not like you haven’t read something in these articles that I’ve said before anyway, so I’m going to tell you again that sometimes writing a weekly column in a weekly paper throws the timing off a bit so there are times when I cannot exactly sync my column themes to calendar events, if you know what I mean?
November is chock full of events and two of those events are very near and dear to my heart and they occur very close together in the month and have oftentimes overlapped. One event is the Dale Blackstock Memorial Recreational Hockey Tournament and the other one is Remembrance Day.
This year, 2015, the Blackstock Tournament came before Remembrance Day so that was the theme for my column right before the weekend of the 7th and 8th. Next week Remembrance Day will fall on a Wednesday so I have to theme this column when it will all be after the fact. Then again, I cannot in good Canadian well-raised conscience not talk about such an important day for our country even though it will have already passed by the time you open up this edition of The Citizen.
Every year Canadians come together on November 11th to mark the end of World War I and in 2015 it will also mark two milestone anniversaries. It is the 100th anniversary of the writing of Lt. Col. John McCrae’s iconic poem In Flanders Fields and it is also the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II.
Since 1921 Canadians have been wearing poppies to honour war veterans. The Royal Canadian Legion has a Poppy Manual which outlines poppy wearing protocol. I know, I know, you sure could have used this last week but keep the information for next year and…better late than never I say.
Everyone who wears a poppy thinks the pin that comes with them is a real pain in the derriere, or finger tip or chest, as it were, and the poppies always fall off but the Legion’s position is that the pins shouldn’t be substituted; including using a Canadian flag pin to hold poppies on but the Legion is a little flexible on this, stating, “It is undoubtedly better to wear a Poppy with a Canadian flag in the centre than not to wear a poppy at all,”. My suggestion for keeping your poppy in place would be to use a pair of pliers to turn the tip back in towards the poppy. It works.
Who should wear a poppy? Anyone who wants to honour a veteran. The Royal Canadian Legion notes that 117,000 Canadians gave their lives for freedom, which also means the freedom not to wear a poppy, should you so choose.
Traditionally, poppies are worn during the Remembrance Day period, which runs from the last Friday in October to the end of the day on Nov 11th. Poppies should be worn on the left lapel close to the heart. Disposing of them by placing them at a memorial for veterans at the end of Nov 11th is particularly respectful. Reusing them next year isn’t.
I’m writing this before Remembrance Day so I know where I will be disposing my poppy. It’ll be right at the new Memorial Cenotaph across from the Post Office. I am very impressed with the look and location of the new cenotaph; kudos to those responsible. The local Legion Branch could use some help in the funding of the project, too. More work is yet to be done and more funds needed. What better way to honour our fallen than to invest in their legacy.
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”- John G. Diefenbaker (1885-1979).