Steve Henschel / Port Colborne Leader
Legions begin selling poppies Oct. 31
It’s more than a symbol.
Last year upwards of 18 million Canadians, in early November, donned a small red flower on their lapels, a symbol of remembrance for the thousands of Canadians who in the past and present have put their lives on the line in defense of Canada. This year will likely be no different as Legion’s across the country begin their annual poppy sales this weekend. In Port Colborne that drive is also about to get underway, not only serving as a simple reminder of the sacrifices made, but also as an important fundraiser for the Legion’s ongoing support of veterans.
“You wear it in remembrance of the people who died for us,” said Port Colborne Legion poppy chair Carol Madden, noting as the largest of Canada’s wars fade into history the annual reminder is more important than ever.
“There’s not many veterans left,” she said.
Last year Canada-wide the poppies raised over $12 million. In Port Colborne the drive usually raises between $8,000 and $10,000.
“For a small city that’s pretty good,” said Madden, explaining that money is used to support veterans in a variety of ways, be it paying for a new roof or medical costs.
“If a veteran needs anything, whether it’s a pair of glasses or a hearing aid, we help,” she said, noting all the money from local poppy sales stays in the community.
“We help any veteran,” said Madden.
The Legion will begin selling poppies across town on Oct. 31.
As always the weeks of poppy sales and display all lead up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. This year the Legion’s official ceremony of remembrance will kick off at 10:45 a.m. at the cenotaph at H.H. Knoll Park.
This year the Legion is also holding two ceremonies at senior’s homes in the city, both taking place on Nov. 10, with a ceremony at Northland Point at 11 a.m. and at Portal Village at 1 p.m.
“It gives an opportunity for the elderly who can’t get out to at least take part,” said Legion executive board member Bob Saracino, noting the home visits are important as many residents are also veterans.
“You’d be surprised how many have served,” he said.