With Remembrance Day just around the corner, Branch 14 of the Royal Montreal Regiment launched its annual poppy campaign Friday morning at Alexis Nihon Plaza.
Montrealers will start seeing veterans stationed all over the city giving out poppies in exchange for donations that support people who have served in Canada’s military.
“Not only do we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who presently serve,” said retired Sgt. Lech Kwasiborski of the Royal Montreal Regiment. “But it also gives us a forum where we can assist those who need our help.”
Leading up to Remembrance Day, Branch 14 sets up shop every year at Alexis Nihon Plaza. Even before the sun was up, people were passing by to have their poppies pinned on by Legion members.
“It’s important to remember everyone who fought for our country,” said passerby Karen Williams, just after she got her poppy.
“It makes me feel good we haven’t let this die,” said Lt.-Col. John Shone, an active service member. “It’s been going 100 years and it’s as meaningful now as when we started wearing a poppy in remembrance.”
This year, getting a poppy in person at your local store or shopping mall is no longer the only way. You can get an official Royal Canadian Legion digital poppy online at MyPoppy.ca.
You log onto the website, make your donation, and you’re given a custom digital poppy you can share on social media.
“The legion members are here doing their thing, but a lot of people don’t always get a chance to come out. More and more things are being done online it just makes sense for us to evolve into this,” said Harry Hall of Royal Montreal Regiment Branch 14.
When you do sign up online, it gives you a chance to dedicate your poppy to someone in particular.
“I would dedicate it to my grandfathers who both served in World War 1. One was from Saskatchewan, one from here in Montreal. And my father who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War,” said Hall.
“It would be to Bobby Girard, who was killed in Afghanistan,” said Shone. “He had an impact on me in his life and by being killed as well.”
Members of Branch 14 will be at Alexis Nihon Plaza until Nov. 11.