As we honour our veterans and fallen war heroes ahead of Remembrance Day, it is important for us to remember the significance of the poppy. In order to commemorate the “Week of Remembrance,” the First Poppy Presentation Ceremony was held at the Alberta Legislature Building Rotunda in Edmonton on Thursday morning, Oct. 27. Comrade Rosalind LaRose, District 4 Commander, AB-NWT Command of The Royal Canadian Legion was a part of the ceremony along with other dignitaries, chosen for the province of Alberta, as the 2016 Royal Canadian Legion representative.
“I had some great conversations as the events of the day rolled on and met so many wonderful people,” said LaRose. “Grade 6 students from Hardisty School and guests from the Junior League of Calgary were also present at the event.”
At the outset, just after the Royal Canadian Legion Colour Party took post, and the arrival of the Vice Regal Party and their salute, Honourable Robert E. Wanner, Speaker delivered his welcome address.
According to LaRose, soon after this Her Honour, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta and her husband, His Honour, Doug Mitchell were “pinned,” followed by four of the honoured guests, including herself who received the “Pinning of Poppy.”
“Thanking our veterans for the freedom they have given at such an extreme selfless sacrifice and reminding everyone of why we were there and to be part of this very special occasion and time of Remembrance, Her Honour delivered the most vibrant and emotional message,” LaRose added. “It was a wonderful experience.”
According to LaRose, we should not forget to wear a poppy to show solidarity with the families of all those who have lost someone in the wars, and there are many.
“Please wear a poppy in memory of all our veterans. Lest we Forget, Lest we Forget,” LaRose added.
Poppy campaignThe First Poppy Presentation Ceremony sets the stage for the poppy campaign to get underway officially. It begins with the presentation to the Lieutenant Governor in Ottawa, followed by the presentations to the Lieutenant Governor in each province the last Thursday of October, explained LaRose.
One day later, on the last Friday of October, the annual poppy campaign across Canada begins.
“The poppy blossoms on the lapels of millions of Canadians and reminds us of past sacrifices and continuing needs of our disabled veterans, RCMP, widows, widowers, orphans and family members, who have served,” LaRose said. “Since 1921 the poppy has stood as the Symbol of Remembrance, a visual pledge to never forget.”
The Royal Canadian Legion has a successful campaign, annually, LaRose noted.
“Within our small community of Stettler, people are very generous,” she said. “Our annual campaign generates approximately $17,000 to $18,000. All the funds are donated back into the community for veterans’ spouses and their assistance, besides community initiatives, such as necessary equipment for hospital and care centres among other.”
In 2015, 1.257 million poppies were distributed in Alberta.
Stettler Legion’s most recent annual poppy year was Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 31, 2016 and
“During this time period, our legion branch donated over $43,000 to the Stettler Hospital, care centres, bursaries, scholarships, student art and literary programs, including Veterans’ Food Bank, Fire Relief Fund, Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL),” LaRose added.