Poppies for Remembrance

Canadians distribute pins to honor veterans

“My heart swells when I see other Canadians in Lynchburg wearing a poppy,” senior Ashley Liddell said. “I think it brings us together in remembrance of what a great country we come from.”

Showing support — Canadian students at Liberty bring down boxes of poppies to distribute on Nov. 11. These fabric poppies are pinned to lapels to honor war veterans. Photo credit: Alyssa Bockman

Liddell, a Liberty Student hailing from Red Lake, Ontario, is one of many Canadians who attempts to unite Canadians on Nov. 11 by having boxes of poppies shipped from home to distribute to her friends and fellow countrymen.

While the United States will be honoring the American troops for Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, many Canadians will be pinning their lapels with red, fabric poppies to further their country’s sentiment.

“The poppy is a pretty vivid symbol,” Liddell said.

The poppy made its mark on Canadian culture with the publishing of John McCrae’s “In Flander’s Fields” in 1915.

“We all grew up learning ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae,” Liddell said. “That poem always struck me as being so tragic, because I thought of the young men and women whose lives were cut short.”

McCrae was a Canadian physician and poet who enlisted in WWI. He was then ranked Major and appointed brigade-surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Forces Artillery, according to his biography on flandersfieldsmusic.com.

During the second battle of Ypres, while still on the battlefront, McCrae formed the lines of his famous poem, urging whoever who reads it to “take up the quarrel with the foe.”

That poem was then published in Punch magazine the same year. Since then, the poem has become one of the most popular poems of remembrance in Canada and Europe.

“Almost every person in Canada grows up hearing the poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’” sophomore Rebecca Noble said. “The grounds of many grave yards during WWI and WWII had poppies. The poppies soon became a symbol of those soldiers who had died.”

These poppies that bloom in that once-bloody field of Flanders in Ypres, Belgium, are now adorned by Canadians every Remembrance Day, Nov. 11.

“I think of that poem every time I wear the poppy and realize that it’s up to us to carry on the legacy of the men and women who fought for us to be able to live in the freedom we enjoy today,” Liddell said.

For Noble, who serves in the Canadian Military, seeing others wear a poppy brings a sense of pride.

“Having served with various parts of the Canadian military, when I see a Canadian wearing a poppy, I smile and know that it is their way of saying thank you,” Noble said. “The poppy is Canada’s symbol of Remembrance, our visual pledge to never forget all those Canadians, and allies who have fallen in war and military operations.”

Even in a country other than their own, Both Liddell and Noble find it important to pin their poppies as a sign of remembrance.

“Even though Canadians live and go to school in other countries they should still wear a poppy because it physically shows people that they take the time to remember,” Noble said. “Even though most Americans don’t know what it means to wear a poppy, it gives Canadians a moment to encourage those who ask about it to do the same for their troops.”

One comment

  • Canadians have traditionally displayed the “McCrae” poppy to symbolize our military Fallen, our war dead. Our lost family members and friends.
    We here introduced itin 1921, littlee fabric replicas brought over by Mme. Anna Guerin of France as a “tag” for raising funds for her work with French war orphans, and profits were shared with support of the Great War Veterans Association (1917-1926)at first then all to this ‘Returned Soldiers’ group. This arrangement is plaqued in Thunder Bay Ontario in the Prince Arthur Hotel. T
    wo million replicas used across Canada this first year. From this success she approached the British Legion clubs and sent reps out to other Dominions down under who supported the dual purpose concept too.
    In conjunction with the Great Silence, the pause to remember the Fallen wherever one is when the hour strikes 11 on the morning of November 11 each year is a powerful tradition in this country and our former-Empire cousins.
    The only way in which a poppy represents the luckier survivors aka veterans of military service is that one of their clubs has the monopoly, the trademark on the design, even the word poppy. [This limits abuse of this almost sacred Remebrance imagery to bad taste usage is within the clubs themselves with fundraising products.]
    Ex-pats all around the globe display the Canadian design in unity with those on our soil…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *