Every November, poppies appear on the lapels and collars of millions of Canadians.
The poppy is worn during the Remembrance period to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers.
One Okanagan business owner, though, has created something unique from poppies: A red dress meant as a reminder of war and sacrifice, and to never forget.
Every year, Sheryn Krywolt and her staff erect a public display to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers.
“The dress took eight hours to make and it’s two boxes of poppies from the legion,” said Krywolt, owner of Carl’s Flower Company in Penticton.
“We are all rather sentimental.”
At the Royal Canadian Legion in Penticton, 25,000 poppies are being distributed across the community.
“That tradition has been going on since the First World War,” said veteran Al McNeil. “We are still doing it now.”
McNeil served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a radio operator in the 50s.
“One of my jobs as a radio operator when I was up in the Arctic was monitoring the Soviet Union’s military,” said McNeil. “So I’d like to be able to call myself a Cold War veteran and that I helped to stop a war from happening.”
McNeil says the bright red poppy is steeped in Canadian military tradition, with money raised going to support veterans and their families.
“Every year, I think ‘Well, it’s going to start dropping, because the less veterans and the younger generation that might not have the same interest.’ And it surprises me every year that we always hold around the $30,000 mark,” he said.
Bill Wood is a former soldier and peacekeeper. For him, the poppy memorializes those who fell in battle.
“I think anything to do with history of this country is important,” said Wood, “and especially military history.”
Former military paratrooper Jim DeMarce says wearing a poppy connects him with fellow comrades.
“The camaraderie,” said DeMarce. “You are brothers and it doesn’t matter if you’re Air Force or Navy or Army, it was one for all and all for one.”