Most everyone knows that we wear poppies as a symbol of Remembrance. It is a small gesture that says that we will not forget the sacrifice of those that have given their lives in service to our country. What many people don’t know is how the funds raised through the sales of poppies are used to support our Veterans.
Prior to coming to United Way, I had the distinct pleasure of working for Veterans Affairs Canada. While there, I became involved with the Greater Edmonton Poppy Fund. The Poppy Fund is the recipient of the donations that all of us make when we buy a poppy. The money raised through the sales of poppies goes into the Poppy Fund, which is then used to support Veterans and their dependents.
The types of requests that the Fund received would include support to purchase medical equipment such as lifts and railings, eye glasses and hearing aids; help with the high cost of prescriptions, and financial assistance for Veterans who may have trouble paying a utility bill in the winter. The requests were always modest and supporting them seemed liked such a small gesture in return for everything these Veterans or their widows have given for our country.
So when you wear a poppy, know that you are not only giving thanks to our Veterans, but also that the money you donate will be used to ensure that those who have given so much for our Country are properly supported in their time of need. So, instead of dropping a loonie or toonie in the bucket, think about making it a five or ten this year.
At each of the meetings of the Poppy Fund, we would begin by reciting this stanza from Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen.” It seems appropriate to share it today.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.