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COLUMN: Thankfully, you don’t have to wear a poppy

You can pin it to your cowboy hat or paste it to the back pocket of your blue jeans

Thankfully, you don’t have to wear a poppy.

Isn’t that the best thing you’ve ever heard?

Of course you can wear a poppy in advance of and for Remembrance Day, as many do. But it’s hardly required.

It’s one of those little bonuses that comes with living free.

We do live free. Despite what you might absorb on Facebook, or Meta or whatever we are labelling the bathroom wall these days, we live free. So you might think about wearing a poppy.

If you want.

The poppy itself, as a flower, has a disreputable history. Of course, it is used in the production of opium.

However it is noted in history, related to conflict, beginning with the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. Later it was indelibly memorialized in 1915, through John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields.

Someone schooled in horticulture could explain it better. Poppies blossomed and flourished on battlefields because their seeds are essentially lazy, and will settle on the ground, dormant forever, if the soil is hard and there is competing vegetation.

It was the bombardments, you see. They destroyed the landscape, churned the dirt, and poppies came to life, beautifying the Western Front in the process.

Following the war, disabled soldiers in Europe – particularly those who had just one arm – were employed sewing cloth poppy badges. It germinated the idea of wearing poppies as a symbol of remembrance, and of supporting the men and women who made their sacrifices.

To this day, all donations to poppy campaigns across Canada go directly to veterans.

You can use, dismiss, wear, or display the poppy as you wish. You can pin it to your cowboy hat or paste it to the back pocket of your blue jeans.

That said, the Royal Canadian Legion has some respectful direction.

The poppy should be worn on the left side, over the heart.

The black centre of the poppy should not be obscured by any other image, for example a pin of the Canada flag.

The poppy should be worn from the last Friday in October until Nov. 11. It can also be worn at a veteran’s funeral, or for specific commemorative occasions.

Poppies should be disposed of with respect.

Naturally, you can do what you want.

And isn’t that the best thing you’ve ever heard?

Related: All poppy donations in Princeton, and throughout Canada, go directly to veterans in need

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ColumnistPrincetonRemembrance Day