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Poppy campaign poignant after Ottawa attacks

Watch above: Poppy campaign poignant after Ottawa attacks 

SASKATOON – The national campaign kicked off Friday; this year wearing the poppy holds added symbolism for many.

Saskatoon residents kicked off this year’s poppy campaign at Market Mall, representing the ‘unknown soldier’ and marking 100 years since the First World War began.

One man wore an authentic uniform that’s been through the trenches, commemorating the 66,000 Canadians who died in WWI.

“I feel very proud to be wearing this,” said the man.

The term ‘unknown soldier’ stirs thoughts of the attack last week in the nation’s capital and the killing of a soldier, honourably standing guard at the National War Memorial’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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“That was a very sad, sad thing,” said Merv Morrison, a descendant of a WWI veteran.

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Morrison’s dad is known as a war ace after shooting down three planes while serving. As a descendant of a veteran, Morrison had the honour of pinning poppies at Friday’s kickoff campaign.

At legions and other public places across Saskatchewan, Remembrance Day poppies are available again this year.

“I know it means a lot to me, and my wife and we both sell poppies,” said Morrison.

Local legion’s received a number of requests for poppies beginning last week following the shooting in Ottawa.

Each year in Canada more than 18-million poppies are distributed. In Saskatoon the campaign usually raises between $60,000 and $80,000.

“Any money collected within Saskatoon and in around our rural areas is kept here,” said Rosemary Ferguson, president of the Nutana legion branch.

The money is used to fund workshops for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, to grant bursaries to grandchildren of veterans and to support veterans financially.

Poppies are available now through to Nov. 11.

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