Proud to pin on a poppy

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster shares poppy pride

Besides dropping temperatures, there are a lot of ways to notice the changing season.

As October turns toward November, leaves start to fall, Canadian football wraps up its season, and the Vernon Vipers gear up towards challenging for a seventh national championship.

But perhaps the most significant and heartwarming sign of the season is the thousands of poppies worn proudly on Canadians’ chests – appropriately enough, right over the heart.

While poppies for Remembrance Day have become a worldwide phenomenon, it’s worth remembering their Canadian origins. The poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by Lt.-Col. John McCrae, a field surgeon during the First World War.

His words, “if we break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields,” are just as poignant and haunting today as they were in 1915 – more so, considering McCrae also lost his life during the war.

In recent years, some have objected to wearing poppies. While I sympathize with sadness over seeing young Canadians still giving their lives in places like Afghanistan, I think that makes wearing a poppy even more relevant.

The poppies you see on chests and for sale around town are provided by the Royal Canadian Legion.

There are two legion branches in Vernon-Monashee – branch 25 in Vernon, and branch 167 in Lumby. In both communities, and indeed towns and cities across Canada, the legion is an invaluable contributor and cornerstone.

In B.C., the Royal Canadian Legion is the largest non-profit provider of veteran /seniors housing with more than 4,500 units in 70 facilities, a community investment of approximately $94 million.

It volunteers more than 600,000 hours, and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for causes as diverse as bursaries and medical research.

Over the years, both local branches have donated countless thousands of dollars to various causes and community organizations – and not just veterans. Legion funds also help secondary schools, disadvantaged youth and the disabled.

Perhaps just as important, the Legion provides invaluable support for our veterans.

Besides creating a community of support and network of friends for veterans, it also sponsors causes like the veterans transition program, a counseling and trauma repair course; and Honour House which provides temporary complimentary accommodation for Canadian Forces members, veterans and first responders requiring medical treatment in Vancouver.

Wearing a poppy doesn’t mean you’re pro-war, if there is such a thing. I don’t think anyone is pro-war.

Wearing a poppy signifies your support of the men and women of our current armed forces, but also your gratitude for the veterans who risked – and all too often, gave – their lives for their country.

Wearing a poppy may be a small gesture, granted. But if you don’t think veterans appreciate that gesture, just ask one. They do.

I’d say that’s worth wearing a poppy.

Visit Eric’s website at


Just Posted

Vernon CMHA celebrates therapeutic power of art

The 16th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale runs until July 23

PHOTOS: Splatsin canoe family completes eight-day journey

Splatsin youth, workers were Paddling Together from Powell River to Gibsons Beach

Quality Greens purchase points keep food on the table

New partnership between Quality Greens, Upper Room Mission is helping those in need

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and cloud, chance of showers

Environment Canada is calling for a sunny weekend across the Okanagan

North Okanagan seeks provincial approval of bag ban

RDNO timeline to have ban in effect by 2020 may no longer be possible

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

Battle of blacksmiths returns to Okanagan vineyard

A battle of blacksmiths is returning for its second year in Lake Country

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Health: Living longer, a myth?

A new column to Black Press from CHIP HealthLine Solutions

Memorial plaques stolen from Okanagan cemetery

Four plaques were stolen from Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Kelowna

Sustainable farming summit coming to the Okanagan

Kelowna will soon host a summit on how the food industry can reduce its climate impact

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UBC Okanagan professor details wildfire risks

Associate professor David Scott provides details for the Okanagan’s wildfire season

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Most Read