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This Remembrance Day, people all across Canada are proudly donning the little red flower over their hearts in honour of the brave men and women who fought for our country in times of war. Similar to every other year, the poppy carries a significant meaning behind each red flower. However, the poppy is representing even more this November. 

2021 marks 100 years of the poppy being the symbol of remembrance in Canada. The poppy was adopted by Canada on July 6, 1921, only three years after the completion of the First World War. In July of 1921, the Great War Veterans Association (which would later become the Canadian Legion) adopted the flower to be Canada’s official symbol of remembrance after Madame Anna Guérin proposed the idea to the Great War Veteran Association, according to the Royal Canadian Legion. Since then, the poppy has become the Royal Canadian Legion’s largest fundraiser.

Why the Poppy? 

You may be wondering, "Why a poppy and not a different flower?"

The poppy was chosen because they grew on the battlefields where the soldiers fought and had been buried in areas like Flanders, France, according to the Royal Canadian Legion. The poppies were able to grow in an abundance on the battlefields in Europe because of the debris that was left sitting on the fields after the fighting was over. The debris acted as a fertilizer for the poppies which allowed them to grow widely. The poppies flourished, and when the war was finally over, the poppies began to disappear. In a way, the poppy disappearing signified the end of the war. 

How do I properly wear a poppy?

The poppy should be worn on the left side, over the heart, according to the Royal Canadian Legion. The poppy should be worn with respect as a symbol of remembrance. There should not be anything obstructing or covering the poppy. 

When should I wear a Poppy? 

According to the legion, the poppy should be worn during the official remembrance period, which is the last Friday in October until November 11. The Royal Canadian Legion also encourages individuals to wear a poppy at a veteran’s funeral or a commemorative event. 

Why is it important to wear a poppy?

Wearing a poppy carries a different meaning for everyone. Someone could be honouring a fallen family member or friend by wearing a poppy or is simply wearing one to honour all veterans and thank them for their service. Whatever your reason for wearing a poppy, we should all take the time to remember the brave sacrifices that men and women and their families made during times of conflict.

As a history major, I personally feel that it is important to honour veterans for their courageous actions and for their service; to honour the people that I study about in school is the least that I can do. 

On November 11, when you are thinking about the sacrifices of the brave men and women who fought for Canada in times of war, think about what the poppy means and the long history that follows the tiny red flower on your left side. 

Krissy is a third-year History major with a double-minor in heritage conservation and Canadian Studies at Carleton. When she's not doing school or hanging with friends and family, Krissy enjoys reading, online shopping, talking aimlessly about history and politics, and playing hockey.
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