I was happy to see Remembrance Day poppies for sale at the checkout counter of a pharmacy today in Ste-Adele. I can’t remember ever seeing poppy donation boxes at the counter of any commercial establishments I’ve shopped at in Quebec before — whereas in Ontario, many gas stations and grocery stores etc. have them for sale at the counter.
In the past, I’ve been buying Remembrance Day poppies from WWII veterans standing in the street or in various grocery stores. But last year, I didn’t see any vets selling them in my neck of the shopping world. I finally managed to buy one the day before Remembrance Day from a gentleman on Ste-Catherine St. in Montreal, who was just about to call it a day. He pinned the poppy to my dress, and thanked me — and I thanked him.
I suspect there aren’t that many able-bodied WWII vets available to sell poppies these days . . .
Whatever the case, I was glad to buy one today — even if it wasn’t directly from a veteran — in remembrance of those who have stood up for our freedom, and for those who continue to do so. We can never repay them, but we can thank them by wearing poppies . . . It’s a small gesture, but it means so much.
It is important to remember and celebrate their sacrifices.
We don’t celebrate Remembrance Day here in the States, but we do have days to remember the veterans of the various wars that we’ve been involved in. How did the tradition of buying poppies from a vet get started? Sounds like a nice gesture, I hope it continues even after the WWII vets have gone on to their reward.
Remembrance Day in the U.S. is called Veterans’ Day, I believe. The poppy tradition began with a poem by Major John McCrae, a medical officer with the 1st. Canadian Contingent at the battle of the Ypres salient in May 1915. It’s called In Flanders’ Fields, which I will publish here on Nov. 11 as part of my Remembrance Day post. Meanwhile, you can read about it all on a site that offers a history of The Red Poppy: http://www.warmemorials.net/redpoppy.htm
Remembrance Day in Canada and UK (and other former parts of British Empire) is what is called Veterans’s Day in US as Jillian notes (previously called Armistice Day). By whatever name, it initially celebrated the end of WW I and the sacrifices of the Soldiers who fought. Later it became in honor of all of those who served. The poppies are indeed from McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” a most haunting and beautiful poem. McCrae was both doctor (practiced and taught at McGill) and Soldier, and as such one of my heros.
Glad you wear the poppy. I do too, but not this early. Now is the season of Hallowe’en, a light-hearted holiday of spooky fun. In Novermber, after All Souls Day, will be time for Veterans/Remembrance Day, a time for honor and solemn remembrance. WW II veterans are getting fewer and fewer, but there are veterans of later wars, and men & women still serving.
Thanks for pointing out the WW! connection. I was going to refer to WWI vets, but I don’t think there are many left at all. Hence, all I have even seen selling poppies are WWII vets and their partners.
As for All Souls Night, yes, you know that the mystical side of me places great significance on this time of year. No doubt, I will post something about it.
“Standing on the bridge that crosses the river that goes out to sea . . . the wind is full of a thousand voicces, they pass by the bridge and me . . .” — Loreena McKennitt
I do like that song, thank you for introducing it to me, even if I view Hallowmass more as fun than truly spiritual.
I suspect many folks no longer know the difference between WWI and II, which is sad. Back in our youth, if you saw a really old vet, he was from WWI. Now, there are few left from either war. However, was also pointing out that there are the younger veterans of later wars, and actively serving military, who too deserve our respect.
Poppies used to be made by soldiers disabled by their injuries, not sure that is still the case though in this risk averse world poppies with pin or wire on fixings are now banned…
I currently have a photo text exhibition on Gallery display about the landscape of the Ypres salient. They are all remembrance pieces for those who fell in the war to end all wars…
Can you post the link here?