Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 11 vice president and Poppy Campaign chairman Neil Jarvie sorts poppies between many donation boxes at the Legion on Tuesday in preparation for Friday when the poppies will be distributed near businesses and organizations around Trail. The money raised from poppy sales will be used to help veterans in the area with everyday expenses they may not be able to afford.

Poppies take on added symbolism

“The reason we wear those poppies is because of the men and women who gave their lives so we can live in freedom.” - Neil Jarvie

By Liz Bevan

Times Staff

Lt. John McCrae saw poppies growing on soldiers’ graves in Flanders Fields a century ago and soon they will be seen on the jacket lapels of local residents in an annual sign of remembrance.

However, this year there is added meaning to wearing a bright red poppy on the heels of the tragic events in Ottawa and Montreal last week, where two Canadian soldiers, Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, were killed in separate attacks.

“That is why we wear them, for those two guys,” said Neil Jarvie, vice president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 11 in Trail and Poppy Campaign chairman.

“You have people out there that think they are doing right by killing them and we disagree.”

Jarvie says the poppy tradition is alive and well in Greater Trail with nearly 20,000 poppies distributed every year.

He says seeing civilians wear the poppy shows appreciation for a sacrifice many of us cannot understand.

“The reason we wear those poppies is because of the men and women who gave their lives so we can live in freedom,” he said. “It is to show appreciation for what they sacrificed.”

The Legion will be distributing the traditional red felt poppies to businesses in Trail on Friday.

Veterans and members of the military were warned not to wear their uniforms in public in light of the incidents on Canadian soil last week, but like wearing the poppy, Jarvie says wearing the uniform is a way to show support and solidarity.

“The military wanted members and veterans to not wear their uniforms and they turned around and said ‘No,’” he said. “They were wearing their uniforms. They aren’t going to give in (to the attacks).”

Vern Schneider is a Legion member and veteran after spending nine years with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Armed Regiment as a peacekeeper with NATO in the Gaza Strip and Germany in the 1960s. He says seeing civilians wear poppies is a way for people to remember what happened in armed conflicts all over the world.

“I have learned that we have to try and remember the past while trying to fix the future,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be going that way though. It is a heck of a world out there right now, but I have taken my kids to the Remembrance Day parades and things since they were young, trying to teach them to be appreciative. The poppies are a good way to remember the past. It means quite a bit to me (to see them).”

Poppies will be available as of Friday at stores and businesses all around Trail and Jarvie says that anyone can take one. For those that decide to drop a loonie or a toonie in the poppy box, the money raised goes towards supporting veterans in their everyday lives.

“All the money comes back to the Legion and goes into the veteran poppy campaign,” he said. “If a veteran comes to the Legion in need, we can help them out. We had one guy who needed new dentures, so we paid for those. We had another veteran who needed new glasses – things like that. Some of the veterans have no money.”

The Legion will be hosting Remembrance Day ceremonies next week around town at schools and retirement homes, bringing the event to those who cannot make it to the Nov. 11 ceremony.

Just Posted

Centennials end Trail Smoke Eaters’ win streak

The Trail Smoke Eaters lost a close 6-4 match to the Merritt Centennials on Saturday

34 Columbia Basin projects to get kids active

Columbia Basin Trust gives over $500,000 in PLAYS Capital Improvement Grants

Itty bitty art

VISAC Gallery is located in the basement of the Selkirk College building in downtown Trail

Free Family Day fun for Greater Trail

Public skating in Rossland and Trail are a few of the free offerings for families this weekend

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read