The poppy: an en­dur­ing sym­bol of re­mem­brance

The Amherst News - - LEST WE FORGET -

Novem­ber 11 is when we pause to re­flect on the men and women who served and who are cur­rently serv­ing our coun­try. On this date, Cana­di­ans are called upon to pay trib­ute to the 2.3 mil­lion com­pa­tri­ots who, through­out our na­tion’s his­tory, risked their lives de­fend­ing our coun­try, and the 118,000 who lost their lives. The tra­di­tion of wear­ing pop­pies — or repli­cas of pop­pies — on Re­mem­brance Day has its roots in the poem “In Flan­ders Fields,” writ­ten dur­ing the First World War by Cana­dian Lieu­tenant­Colonel John Mc­Crae. The poem, which be­came widely known across the Com­mon­wealth of Na­tions and in the United States, speaks of the pop­pies that thrived on fields in Bel­gium and North­ern France where some of the war’s blood­i­est bat­tles were fought. Af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of Mc­Crae’s verses, pop­pies took on sym­bolic mean­ing, rep­re­sent­ing at once re­mem­brance, re­birth, hope and the blood spilt in war. To­day, the pop­pies we wear on Novem­ber 11 help us to be mind­ful of the sac­ri­fice of the brave Cana­dian sol­diers of this war and ev­ery other armed con­flict in our na­tion’s his­tory. The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, who through the sale of these pop­pies pro­vides sup­port for vet­er­ans, sug­gests that the flower be worn on the left lapel of our gar­ments, close to our hearts.

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