A poppy in Re­mem­brance

The Gananoque Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - LOR­RAINE PAYETTE

Le­gion­naire and Poppy vol­un­teer Janet Gay­lord out col­lect­ing for Re­mem­brance on Novem­ber 4, Poppy Day in Gananoque.

We see them ev­ery year at all the fa­mil­iar places – GISS, Cana­dian Tire, the No Frills – Le­gion­naires and Army Cadets in full uni­form car­ry­ing trays of pop­pies and hop­ing for do­na­tions. We wear the pop­pies, at­tend the ser­vices and make our acts of Re­mem­brance. But where do all those loonies and twoonies go? What does the Le­gion do with the money it raises through its Poppy Cam­paign? What do Le­gion mem­bers do?

“The main pur­pose of the cam­paign is not to raise money,” said Bill Besweth­er­ick of Le­gion Branch 92. “That is why we sell wreaths al­most at cost. The idea is to re­mind peo­ple of sac­ri­fice. This past year, $ 660 went to youth ed­u­ca­tion to sup­port the Re­mem­brance Day poster, es­say, and po­etry con­tests; $1,250 to the cadets; $1,000 to Brockville Gen­eral Hospi­tal for geri­atric equip­ment; and I be­lieve $750 to Lans­downe med­i­cal clinic as many of our vet­er­ans live in the town. Another $1,000 went to­wards the re­fur­bish­ing of the war me­mo­rial.”

While not a ma­jor source of fund­ing for Le­gion pro­grams, col­lect­ing for the Poppy Fund is still an im­por­tant an­nual event. WWI was touted as “the war to end all wars”, but sadly that did not prove to be the case. Fam­i­lies still send their sons and daugh­ters, broth­ers and sis­ters, moth­ers and fa­thers, best friends and life­long com­pan­ions off to fight and de­fend, to stand and pro­tect, tomake ev­ery ef­fort at peace keep­ing around the world. Each has signed a con­tract with his/her coun­try, will­ing to give ev­ery­thing to this cause up to and in­clud­ing their very lives.

Ev­ery time you do­nate a coin, ev­ery time you don a poppy, you are telling th­ese mil­i­tary per­son­nel and vet­er­ans – liv­ing and dead – that you re­mem­ber, and that their sac­ri­fice was not in vain. In hard eco­nomic times such as th­ese it can be very easy to sus­pect the very in­sti­tu­tions that reach out to sup­port our mil­i­tary and to keep th­ese im­por­tant mem­o­ries alive of com­mit­ting wrong­do­ing and un­der­handed acts, but a sim­ple visit to your lo­cal Le­gion can show you oth­er­wise. Each Le­gion it­self is ded­i­cated first and fore­most to the Vet­er­ans, their care, and Re­mem­brance of all that they did for us.

Le­gion mem­ber­ship is open to all adults in Canada now.

“On­line mem­ber­ship is just $ 49.99 per year, and you don’t have to be a Vet­eran to join,” says the of­fi­cial Le­gion web­site. “Any Cana­dian cit­i­zen or cit­i­zen of an Al­lied na­tion who is 18 years of age or older is wel­come to be­come a mem­ber of the Le­gion.

“With more than 275,000 mem­bers in over 1,400 branches, The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion reaches across our vast coun­try and abroad and con­nects us to our past, our present and our fu­ture. Our mem­bers care deeply about sup­port­ing the men and women who serve and have served this coun­try, and strive tomake a dif­fer­ence.

“The Le­gion is Canada’s largest Vet­eran and com­mu­nity ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tion. Our mem­ber­ship in­cludes cur­rently serv­ing and re­tired Cana­dian Armed Forces and Royal Cana­dian Mounted Po­lice mem­bers, as well as the moth­ers and fa­thers, wives and hus­bands, sons and daugh­ters, and grand­chil­dren of Vet­er­ans. Each of th­ese in­di­vid­u­als is im­pacted by the care our Vet­er­ans re­ceive and the is­sues af­fect­ing them.

“We also wel­come into our mem­ber­ship those with­out mil­i­tary af­fil­i­a­tion who sup­port Canada’s Vet­er­ans. Le­gion mem­bers, whether they have served or not, help Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, pro­mote Re­mem­brance, sup­port Le­gion pro­grams, and vol­un­teer their time to pro­vide es­sen­tial ser­vices within their com­mu­ni­ties. With­out Le­gion vol­un­teers, the tremen­dous pro­grams and ser­vices the Le­gion pro­vides to our Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies would dis­ap­pear.”

The next time you reach into your pocket to find a coin to drop in the box, re­mem­ber. That is what th­ese dol­lars are for – Re­mem­brance for all they did and all they sac­ri­ficed. Then think about what else you can do for them and maybe con­sider a mem­ber­ship. They will be more than grate­ful for your help.

To learn more, go to www. le­gion.ca/.

LOR­RAINE PAYETTE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

LOR­RAINE PAYETTE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Le­gion­naire and Poppy Vol­un­teer Janet Gay­lord was out col­lect­ing for Re­mem­brance on Novem­ber 4, Poppy Day in Gananoque

LOR­RAINE PAYETTE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Mem­bers of Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 92 were out in force to col­lect and help peo­ple re­mem­ber on Novem­ber 4, Poppy Day in Gananoque. L-r, Bill Besweth­er­ick, Sec­re­tary; Owen Fitzger­ald, 2nd Vice Pres­i­dent; Peter Mills, mem­ber; and Janet Gay­lord, Ex­ec­u­tive.

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