This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the remembrance poppy in Canada, and to recognize the milestone, the Shelburne Legion, Branch 220, is selling commemorative poppy pins.
“We just want the act of remembrance and we want as many people to remember the reason behind the poppy,” said Phil Norris, public relations officer for the local branch. “It’s important to remember the veterans and soldiers that gave their lives for our freedom, and it’s something that we need to remind the younger children growing up and inform new Canadians.”
The poppy became a symbol of remembrance after Madame Anna Guérin, inspired by John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”, had the idea to distribute the poppy on Armistice Day as a way to raise money for veterans’ needs and remember those who died during the First World War. In July of 1921 the Great War Veteran Association, which unified with other veteran groups to form the Canadian Legion in 1925, adopted the poppy as the flower of remembrance.
The Shelburne Legion, to mark the anniversary of the poppy, is selling 50 commemorative pins.
“We’re hoping that this will get everybody around July to remember that the poppy is a symbol of remembrance,” said Norris.
While the commemorative poppy pin, which is reminiscent of the first remembrance poppy, hopes to inspire remembrance in communities, it also directly helps local veterans.
Funds raised from the sale of the poppies will go towards the Shelburne Legion’s Poppy Fund, said Norris.
The Poppy Fund helps veterans and their widows/widowers in various ways including providing assistance to needy veterans, purchasing construction materials or providing maintenance for housing and care facilities of elderly and disabled persons, bursaries, and getting service dogs for veterans.
The legion launched the sale of the poppy pins on May 19 and is selling them at $5 for one or $10 for three. Purchases can be made through the legion’s second vice president Liz Whitten, via Facebook messenger.
“We hope the community realizes the significance of our veterans and the ones that lost their lives for our freedom,” said Norris.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press