As a newcomer, you may be wondering why Canadians wear a Red Poppy in their left lapel; it’s impossible not to notice it, especially in November.
The Red Poppy, which grows on the First World War battlefields in Flanders, in Belgium and northern France, is the symbol of Remembrance Day. This memorial day is observed in many Commonwealth countries, including Canada, every year on November 11th.
Canadians remember the sacrifices of over a million brave men and women who have served in all wars up to the present day in which Canada took part and the 110,000 who have given their lives and observe a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
People started wearing the red poppy for the first time in 1921. Since 1925 The Royal Canadian Legion has run the poppy fundraising campaign in Canada to support Canadian veteran and their families.
- 2021 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the poppy’s adoption as a national symbol of remembrance.
- Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields”, a French woman Anna Guérin had the idea to distribute the Poppy as a way to raise money for Veterans’ needs and to remember those who had given their lives during the First World War.
- The poppy is worn in the left lapel or collar to stay close to the heart.
- Canada Post issued a stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Remembrance Symbol.
The poem “In Flanders Fields” is often recited on Remembrance Day:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. Composed by: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Medical Officer, 1915
Watch The story and 100th anniversary of the Poppy of Remembrance and learn more: