There is a certain ‘protocol’ when it comes to the wearing of poppies. The tradition, according to an article in The Legion magazine, is to wear them over the heart. Also traditional is to leave them at the cenotaph. It is expected that poppies will not be worn after Nov. 11.
The poppy became the principal symbol of remembrance after Col. John McRae’s famous poem came out during the First World War. It was adopted as Canada’s official symbol of remembrance in 1921.
One thing you should know about the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund is that none if goes towards operations of the local branch. RCL Branch #110 President Beth McDonald put that out there in a recent letter to the editor.
Another thing worth knowing is that quite a few of the Legion members are ‘younger.’ This is good, but not in all ways, because – as McDonald informs us – it means they still work and have less time for wreath sales, “so our wreath sales are down, due to not having enough time in a day to sell.”
Proceeds from poppy and wreath sales go to a variety of good programs or projects, which must be approved by the local board, and then sent up the chain of command for further approval. Last year, for example, the funds collected locally went to support the branch’s ‘scooter program.’ These are scooters lent out to veterans; support for the local Army Cadet Corps is another approved use of poppy funds. A bursary for a child of a veteran is another.
The term ‘veteran,’ by the way, has been expanded quite a lot in the past while.
“A veteran is any person who is serving or who has honourably served in the Canadian Armed Forces, or the equivalent in the Commonwealth or its wartime allies, or is a member of the RCMP,” McDonald wrote in her letter to the editor. Further, the definition applies to peace officers, merchant navy or ferry command members during wartime.
Another prominent aspect of Remembrance Day is the participation of the Slave Lake Army Cadets. This group of hardy individuals will again be doing an all-night vigil at the cenotaph, leading up to the Remembrance Day ceremonies.
There are 25 – 30 members of the corps this year, training officer Lt. Ron Leslie tells us. He also tells us the proper name of the group is the Slave Lake army Cadets 2898, Loyal Edmonton Regiment, 4th Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. That’s a mouthful, but as a rule they are okay with being called the Slave Lake Army Cadets.
Last year, readers may recall, the cadets took the opportunity during that overnight vigil to respond to an act of vandalism shortly after it occurred, cleaning up spray-painted graffiti on a downtown business before it got too dry!
In addition to their vigil duties, look for the Cadets to participate in the ‘colour party’ in the Nov. 11 ceremonies, and to lay wreaths.
In other Cadets news, Leslie says, “We had a cadet selected for a national expedition in Yukon.” That was Master Warrant M. Perkinson, who took part in a canoe and hiking trip over several days. A group of eight cadets also recently took part in a regional training exercise at the Brazeau Dam, west of Drayton Valley.
In both cases, (Legion and Cadets), more members are always welcome.