Have you started seeing people wearing red paper flowers on their coats? Placing a poppy flower close to your heart symbolizes an act of remembrance. In Canada, you can buy a poppy at nearly every grocery or convenience store during the month of November; small boxes are often set up near the cashier, and larger displays are run in the malls by current and former members of the military. There is no fixed cost for a poppy; you are welcome to pay whatever amount you are comfortable with, big or small, and all proceeds go to support Canada’s war veterans.
Canadians wear poppies show their respect and support for Canadian soldiers and the sacrifices they have made for our country, specifically because poppies grew in some of the worst battlefields of World War 1. Their red colour symbolizes the blood that was shed during those battles, and more specifically during World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, Bosnia, Kosovo, and more modern conflicts in the Middle East. These poppies are represented all month until November 11, Remembrance Day. 11:00 am on November 11th (often called the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) is significant because it marks the time and day that the end of World War 1 was declared. In 2018, November 11 will mark exactly 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Other ways to remember
In addition to wearing poppies, all government buildings fly the Canadian flag at half-mast (half-way up the flag pole) each November 11. Anyone who wishes can attend a Remembrance Day ceremony, held across the city at various locations. The ceremony includes the laying of wreaths, bagpipers, soldiers, and a 2-minute silence at 11 am, during which Canadians remember those who fought in Canada’s wars.
For a list of Remembrance Day ceremonies across Calgary, click here.
If you want to learn more about Remembrance Day, please check our previous post at this link.