‘I was lucky enough to survive’: Afghan war vet reflects on importance of poppy campaign

Click to play video: 'Poppy campaign underway in Kelowna' Poppy campaign underway in Kelowna
Poppy campaign underway in Kelowna – Oct 30, 2018

After spending a year in the Afghan war and 30 years in the reserves with the B.C. Dragoons, John Broughton is now selling poppies.

“I love to give back to the community, and the chance to primarily let kids know about what they should remember for Remembrance Day,” Broughton said.

“Just to show people it’s not just old people: it’s younger people that have also been in the military.”

READ MORE: Poppy 2.0: Remembrance Day symbol gets a digital makeover

Poppies are free but donations go towards supporting veterans.

“I’ve been getting a lot of business, I guess you’d say,” Broughton said.

READ MORE: Why white poppies — meant to be a symbol of peace — are so controversial

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The war veteran said standing outside gives him a chance to reflect and remember a friend who didn’t get to return home.

“I was lucky enough to survive,” he said.

“I want kids to realize that the freedom that they have now, it was hard-fought and it took lives.”

READ MORE: Canada’s Remembrance Day poppy goes digital

The Royal Canadian Legion said it’s still short poppy volunteers in Kelowna. It needs to fill 762 shifts of about three hours each.

“We are short right now about 400 people,” poppy chairman John Cashin said. “All they have to do is one shift.”

The legion is hoping to break last year’s record of raising $184,000.

READ MORE: Royal Canadian Legion’s Kelowna poppy fund helps with new medical equipment, JoeAnna’s House

Starting on November 5, there will also be a new sight in Kelowna’s City Park to honour veterans: a field of 240 white crosses, each with a poppy and a name.

“The names on all the crosses are all the local residents that went to World War One, World War Two and Korea who never got home. They’re buried over in Europe, and they have no crosses here,” legion branch president Jim White said.

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