Today was I was honoured to be presented with the first poppy in British Columbia by Jim Diack, Treasurer of the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. This symbolic gesture marks the start of the 2019 Poppy Campaign, a fundraiser in support of programs and services for veterans and their families.
The annual campaign kicks off with the presentation of the symbolic first poppy to the Governor General in Ottawa. This year, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette received the poppy from Thomas Irvine, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion, in a ceremony held at Rideau Hall. Similar presentations are made in Vice Regal offices across Canada, sharing awareness of this important initiative.
The poppy was adopted as the official flower of remembrance in Canada in 1921, inspired by the poetry of Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian medical officer in World War II. His haunting 1915 poem In Flanders Fields painted the melancholy image of rows of poppies growing upon the resting places of those lost in the war. Now more than 20 million poppies are distributed each year in communities across Canada.
As honorary patron of the BC/Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, it is my great privilege to support this campaign, not only to help our veterans, but also to encourage this generation and the next to never forget the sacrifices made for our freedom.
The Legion’s 2019 National Poppy Campaign begins each year on the last Friday in October. Look for those selling poppies on October 25, 2019.