The Trail Royal Canadian Legion will solemnly recognize its veterans when it opens the annual poppy distribution and wreath campaign on Friday, albeit with a slightly different look.
The Legion’s normal army of poppy volunteers has been drastically reduced to adapt to the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the B.C. provincial health officer.
“The poppy campaign this year is totally different from any prior campaign,” said Trail Legion executive member Glenn Hodge. “We can’t pin poppies onto individuals, and we have to keep the six-feet social distancing.”
Instead of having campaigners on street corners, the Legion has coordinated with businesses and designated five locations where poppies can be picked up.
Tables will be set up at Ferraro Foods, the BC Liquor store in Trail, Walmart, Canadian Tire and inside the Waneta Mall near No Frills.
“We’ll have a table set up with canvassers sitting behind it, with a poppy box on it and poppies distributed on the table. A person can come up, make their donation and receive a poppy.”
Hodge emphasizes that donations are not mandatory, but appreciated, and encourages everyone to wear one.
The poppy is a symbol that recognizes and remembers the men and women who have served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Waneta Mall will also have an unmanned central display with wreaths and a helmet filled with poppies, where people can offer donations and retrieve a poppy.
Another unfortunate fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is that the Legion will not be allowed to hold their Remembrance Day ceremony at the Trail Cenotaph, but will place the wreaths purchased by residents on the monument.
“On Nov. 11, by the looks of things, anyone who purchased a wreath through our poppy campaign, we will position them down at the Cenotaph,” said Hodge.
“But we are not allowed to run a Cenotaph service as we have in the past because of the COVID, which is unfortunate,” he said.
“We tried to work with the city, but the guidelines of Dr. Henry [Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer] are a maximum of 50 people and there’s no way we can guarantee only 50 people show up.”
Residents can visit the Trail Cenotaph during the day and leave their poppy at the foot of the “Unknown Soldier” but are urged to take precautions.
“Normally after the ceremony a lot of people take their poppy off and put it on the cenotaph, and that will be open all day for people to do that,” added Hodge. “And we respect that the people who would like to do that to again social distance, pay your respects, and we appreciate the respects that are made.”
Wreaths can be purchased by contacting the Trail Legion by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.