May 19th, 2024

Poppy campaign marks 100th anniversary in a new way


By Herald on October 26, 2021.

Glenn Miller, co-chair, public relations committee for General Stewart Branch #4, is ready for this weekend’s Tag Day and the 100th Anniversary Poppy Campaign. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

On the 100th anniversary of the poppy, a donation is just a tap or scan away.

The 100th Anniversary Poppy Campaign starts up with Tag Day Saturday around Lethbridge with this year’s goal once again set at $90,000 raised.

As the poppy celebrates its centennial, new technology is being introduced to make donations that much easier. A tap of the phone will even give the donors a video to watch.

“New this year on the poppy donation boxes are two QR codes, one to donate and one with a video that explains the poppy program,” said Glenn Miller, co-chair, public relations committee for General Stewart Branch #4. “With a QR downloader, much like when you go into a store and businesses, there are QR codes that basically point you to another landing page on a website. So you hold your phone over the QR code and if you want to see the video at your leisure you can do that. It’s evolving with society.”

Madame Anna Guerin – who was later christened “The Poppy Lady from France” – was inspired by John McCrae’s “In Flander’s Fields” to adopt the distribution of the poppy on Armistice Day as a way to raise money for veterans needs and to remember those who have given their lives during the first World War.

In July of 1921, the Great War Veterans Association – which in 1925 would unify with other veteran groups to form the Canadian Legion – adopted the poppy as the flower of remembrance.

Since then, the Legion and its members have upheld this tradition of remembrance.

“When I was a young citizen, it was ingrained in me that you wear it the whole week leading up to Remembrance Day versus just the one day,” said Miller. “If you walk by a poppy, they’re free. Put on one so you are remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice from Friday, when the boxes are first available for businesses, up until Remembrance Day. It would be nice to see a sea of red being worn in the community and this year being the 100th anniversary of the poppy, that has waned in the past because people only tend to wear them on Remembrance Day and a small fraction in the week leading up to it. So I’d like to see everyone, including youth (wear one). It’s cool to wear a poppy all week because everyone is remembering and they all have stories to tell.”

Tag Day starts Saturday, but the business boxes will go out Friday, said Miller, adding there will be COVID restrictions and locations will be based on the volunteers and the capacity they’re spread out.

“Veterans and members of the Legion will be outside the stores versus inside. There is a youth component.”

Last year, over 454 poppy boxes were distributed by 14 volunteers on Tag Day.

A new addition last year was the HSBC tap-to-donate, allowing the public to make an electronic donation at a poppy box at the Park Place Shoppers Drug Mart.

That will also be available this year with three tap variations of two, five and 10 dollars with a debit card, said Miller.

“We’re very thankful for the individuals and businesses and organizations that are able to make donations this year. It does play a vital role in the community helping veterans and their families.”

Due to COVID restrictions, people are encouraged to take in the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph via live stream this year.

There will also be a gun firing at Mountain View Cemetery in support of the Cenotaph service.

Weather pending, local citizen Geoffrey Brayne will be doing a fly-pass in a Harvard Mark IV.

Poppy wearers are encourage to use social media to share their poppy story at #mypoppymemory.

A tax receipt for all donations of at least $20 will be issued.

An individual, group or business may also purchase a wreath as an act of remembrance.

Those interested can text or call (403) 393-6622 or email poppywreath04@gmail.com during the campaign.

Donors will receive a follow up phone call or email to arrange payment and collection.

Tax receipts are not available for wreath purchases.

Donations can also be made via cheque to the Poppy Trust Fund and can be mailed to Poppy Trust Fund, 

General Stewart Branch 04, 

Royal Canadian Legion, 

324 Mayor Magrath Drive,

Lethbridge, 

T1J 3L7

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

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