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