In Flanders Fields The poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row
That mark our place…
The opening lines of Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae’s infamous poem, words he penned after losing a friend on a Ypres battle field over a century ago.
Since then the poppy has not only become a symbol of remembrance, but the donations for the millions of the small, red-flowered pins have and continue to be used to help veterans and their families.
The campaign locally began last week and from now until Nov. 11, veterans, young cadets and many others will be making the pins available.
“A lot of people think we sell them but that’s not the case. We give them to people and if they can make a donation that’s wonderful,” said poppy chairperson Al McNeil of the Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“Really the important part is we generate enough money because of the money we collect goes back into the community.”
That includes finding veterans who may be in the hospital or a care home.
Then there is the use for the money such as bursaries for education.
“Last year we gave $11,000 to students who had fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers in the service,” said McNeil.
For the second year in a row there will be two Remembrance Day ceremonies taking place in Penticton — one indoors and one at the cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park beside the courthouse.
The park cenotaph was funded by the Great War Veterans’ Association as a First World War memorial in 1920, to which plaques were added to later honouring the veterans of the Second World War.
Services get underway with a parade march from the curling club to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre starting at 10 a.m. Inside services begin at 10:30 a.m. and should finish at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The additional outside service will take place at 10:45 a.m. at the cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park and finishing by 11:15 a.m. After the service organizers encourage attendees to meet a Veteran.
If ye break faith with us, who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.