Montrealers are asked to remember once again as the Royal Canadian Legion launches its annual poppy campaign Friday in Montreal and across Canada.
Started in 1921 in England, the 2021 campaign marks the centennial year of the long-standing tradition honouring those who have fought and served.
The Westmount’s Royal Canadian Branch 14 was out at Alexis Nihon plaza, where veterans pinned the iconic red flowers on patrons.
The last Friday of October marks the first day where Canadians are invited to show their pledge to remember by sporting the Flanders Fields flower.
“The symbol of the poppy represents coming out of the world wars, the sacrifices that were made in order to have the things that we have today and the freedoms we have,” retired lieutenant-colonel and first vice-president of Branch 14 Henry F. Hall said.
Holding an informal ceremony, Liberal MP and former Navy serviceman Marc Garneau was the first recipient of the poppy, kicking off the 13-day campaign.
The Royal Canadian Legion estimates 20 million poppies will be distributed by its branches throughout Canada this year.
The money raised goes towards supporting Canadian veterans, families and events.
Hall says the 2020 campaign was heavily affected by COVID-19 restrictions and the pandemic.
Despite adapting by providing a digital poppy donation online, Hall says the Westmount branch only managed to secure 50 per cent of what it would normally receive.
The annual Remembrance Day campaign is the single largest fundraising effort by the legion.
“Without having that actual interaction, talking with people, sharing stories, it makes it difficult and consequently not only did we suffer from a moral perspective but also from a monetary perspective,” Hall said.
“We didn’t make the money we normally do to help our veterans who need the help. ”