Since the last Friday of October, small red poppies can be seen dotting the crowds and streets in Canada.
Sunday, November 11th, is Remembrance Day (the Canadian equivalent to Memorial Day) where Canadians all across the country remember those who have died serving our country. The Royal Canadian Legion actually proclaims the poppy as the "sacred" symbol of remembrance and donations from poppies fund an important part of veteran rehabilitation and helping the families of those who have passed.
I may not be a fan of the political decisions surrounding the military, but I will honour and respect those who have died for my country.
In particular, I wear my poppy in honour of my grand-père Albert (who passed away 5 years ago) who fought in the infantry in World War II. Remembrance Day meant a lot to him.
The entire system of the Poppy Campaign however, necessitates waste. In order to raise money, the Legion counts on people throwing away their poppies and purchasing new ones each year. If 70% of Canadians wear poppies, that's a lot of wasted plastic.
(photo from Fredericton blog Kandise Brown)
Recently, several knitting groups, specifically one in Fredericton New Brunswick, were asked to stop knitting reusable poppies by the Legion. One reason being that a reusable poppy means that person won't purchase one the following year. I think it's a shame a compromise couldn't have been found.
For the past two years, after Remembrance Day, Andrew and I placed our poppies in a drawer where they are protected and bring them out the following year... As they are plastic they last through the rain and snow of November and look virtually the same as the day we bought them. No extra waste.
I do believe in giving back to the Legion, as they have helped my grandparents as well as myself (with a scholarship during my undergraduate degree).
So, instead of taking a poppy, I simply give a donation, smile and continue on my way.
Albert d'Eon WWII 1945 in Holland
J'taime grand-père, et je me souviens...