Lincoln Museum's poppy exhibit a display of hope, veteran says

·3 min read

In Lincoln, hands from around the world have stitched together an act of remembrance.

More than 2,000 hand-knitted and crocheted poppies are on display outside the Lincoln Museum and Cultural centre. The poppies, hand-stitched by people from Canada and other parts of the world, are attached to a net draped over the front entrance and side of the building.

The display is one that retired sergeant Douglas Lawrence said gives him “great hope that they won’t forget what people have done prior to them.”

With 34 years of service behind him, Lawrence said the armed forces is family business for him. His grandfather, a First World War veteran and his father, a veteran of the Second World War and Korea, both of his brothers served in the military, as well as his nieces and his own son are currently serving.

“For me, it was the trucks,” he said, sharing that his lifelong love for cars and trucks led him to be one both in the military and outside of it.

Lawrence said that in his time with the armed forces, he learned that “everyone you meet is a potential friend. It's all about how you approach them.”

He said to him, the poppy was a symbol of remembrance of all those who served before him and the sacrifices they made. But especially, he is reminded of a young man who was part of his group during a peacekeeping mission in the Middle East, someone who he boarded with a short time.

“We went in with 13 people, we only came out with 12,” Lawrence said. “It was tragic and I still think of him. Especially on Remembrance Day.”

According to Jasmine Proteau, the exhibitions and collections curator of the museum and culture centre, the art project was originally started by the Niagara Falls museum.

Last year, after placing a public call out asking for poppy donations, the Niagara Falls Museum received over 11,000 hand-knitted and crocheted poppies from Canada, the United States, Denmark and New Zealand.

Proteau said that when Niagara extended the offer to other museums to share the display, she took it.

She said museums play an important part in preserving history and it was important to preserve the history of war and the effects on people from that time and therefore put up the display of poppies.

“We have items in our collection that actually belong to people who served and obviously, it's important for us to participate in that recognition and recognition of those sacrifices,” she said.

In 1921, the Great War Veterans Associations, the predecessor association to the Canadian Legion, adopted the poppy as the official symbol of remembrance.

For retired Warrant Officer Terry Miller, it still carries that same value 100 years later.

He said seeing displays such as the poppies outside the museum, is a reminder of appreciation from the country at large.

“It's showing that as busy as we are or as perhaps restricted in our movements up to lately we have been, people are still taking the time to remember. They're still reflecting upon the time and being appreciative of what we have.”

Miller, himself a veteran with 20 years of service, is the poppy chair at the Beamsville Legion.

The poppy campaign is a national effort by the legion to collect funds for veterans and their families who need help.

“We tend to go out and reach out and try to give assistance to those veterans, especially as they get up in years and make their life as comfortable as possible for the sacrifices that they've made,” he said.

The poppy exhibit is on display at the museum until Nov 11.

Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News

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