Every November 11th, people across many nations commemorate an important moment the world over: the end of the First World War. It is a solemn, heavy-hearted day. One of great respect and reflection. In Canada, people pin poppies on sweaters, jackets and scarves to honour the brave Veterans who served, and continue to serve, on behalf of our country.
Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario served as a medical officer during the First World War. He left his legacy in fifteen lines, "In Flanders Fields", a poem recited by children and elders alike. "In Flanders Fields" was penned after the death of a comrade. It features the vibrant poppy.
The poppy is a resilient flower. It bloomed over the once-barren battlefields of Flanders, France. It made its way into a poem on a discarded page. It tucked itself into Punch Magazine and the hearts of its readers, including Moina Michael, an American teacher who wore the poppy as a tribute. It sparked an idea in Madame Guerin, who made and sold poppies to raise money for war-torn France. It fell into the hands of The Great War Veteran’s Association in Canada, which named the poppy the official Flower of Remembrance. That organization is now the Royal Canadian Legion, Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization.
More recently, the poppy lay amongst other poppies in donation boxes. These donation boxes were held by Veterans scattered across bus stations, banks, malls and restaurants. In 2018, 19 million poppies were distributed across Canada, resulting in $15 million dollars in donations to support Veterans and their families1.
Our parent company, TD Bank Group, also does its part to support Veterans by offering an employee assistance program that helps Veterans and their families move into civilian life, and a leave program for employees fulfilling service obligations and training requirements.
These days, there are more face masks on the streets than poppies. This year, Remembrance Day looks different. In August, it was decided there wouldn't be a Veteran’s parade or Canadian Armed Forces parade. These large, commemorative events would become small, heartfelt ceremonies. There are changes, but the poppies still bloom. In every one of us. Even under these circumstances. We still honour our Veterans and their sacrifice. We remain resilient. We remember.
Please visit The Poppy Store to support our Veterans and their families.
1The Poppy Campaign. The Royal Canadian Legion, https://www.legion.ca/remembrance/the-poppy-campaign.
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