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What Poppies Mean to High River Residents

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The poppy, a red flower with a black center.

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From the last Friday in October until Remembrance Day, November 11, “millions of Canadians wear a poppy as a visual token of never forgetting those who served and sacrificed.”

A number of High River residents, who were at High River Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 71 for their Friday November 4 fish and chips dinner, said the poppy reminded them of the family who served, the veterans they know and the country. they live in.

For Bill Fowler, the poppy reminds him of his parents, who both served and were sergeant majors, and also, he thinks of the Holocaust and for his friend, Jim Ross, “it makes me reflect and reflect on the sacrifice that all the soldiers did, those who died and those who returned home too.

Retired RCMP member Roy Danforth says the poppy reminds him of the recognition of the world wars and the sacrifices made by service men and women.

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For Ken Hanley, the poppy reminds him of “an uncle I never met who died in the last two days of the war and is buried in Italy. He came from Zealandia, Saskatchewan, joined fresh out of college and received the rank of lieutenant.

Cheryl Walker-Harper is moved when she sees a poppy because she thinks of freedom, “the men and women who put their lives on the line so that we could have our freedom today.”

Owen Howe, a life member of the High River Legion, served in the RCAF Police (Royal Canadian Air Force) for 28 years and worked on clearances for applicants applying to join the military.

“I was in 28 countries and spent four years in Germany. I worked on car accident investigations in Germany. I lived three times in Quebec, twice in Ontario and my last base was Calgary, where I did surveys in southern Alberta and British Columbia. I retired in 1989,” the 81-year-old said. “The poppy reminds me of my father who was shot in the neck in 1943 while driving a tank. He was a badass and he was patched up and moved on. This time of year we should all remember to donate to the Legion and wear a poppy.

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Gail King, one of the ladies who crocheted over a thousand poppies for the shows around High River, said: “I didn’t have anyone in my family who was at war, but I believe we should honor our veterans. The poppy is a sign of respect. I have learned a lot from completing Project Poppy over the past four years; that you are not supposed to wear a poppy after November 11th. During the ceremony, you must remove your poppy and place it on the cenotaph. I don’t think young people today appreciate the generations that follow mine. I think my children know this, but my grandchildren may not understand the sacrifices made by young men and women during war.

The resident who started the High River Knitted and Crocheted Poppy Project, Merridell “Dell” Richardson had family in the military and feels that “we’re losing the knowledge with the generations that don’t know anything about the poppy and what it’s all about.” it stands for. The poppy shows around town were meant to keep this memory alive and the poppy is quite beautiful, I think, the red is so pretty. If it makes a child ask what the poppy show is, I think that’s great because I’m afraid that eventually no one will remember what 9/11 is.

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For some of the High River Friday Quilting Group, they think of the quilts that are made for veterans by Quilts of Valour, Canada Society. Bravery Quilts support injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past and present, with comfort quilts. 19,615 quilts were distributed to those suffering from PTSD, those undergoing physiotherapy sessions and those who have rendered selfless service.

For Joyce Brown, the poppy means “how lucky we are not to be at war; especially with Ukraine and Russia at war now. I had an uncle-in-law who was in the air force and didn’t want to fly after the war because he was a gunner, crammed in the back. He was one of the few to return home.

“The poppy reminds me of what Canada is not doing for our veterans,” said Beverley Zielke. “People who have served our country are lining up at the food bank and some are homeless. I’m sure we can do better for them by donating to the Legion Poppy Fund and supporting veteran food banks.

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For Kary Langner, the poppy means “remembering and honoring veterans. The service has grown over the years. When I was in school you went to the gym and you went through a service but today it’s not. There is more ceremony, which is good. My father was in the navy and never talked about it; this generation just didn’t talk about their time in the military. I had an uncle in the air force and another in the army stationed in England.

For Paula Groenwold, deputy commanding officer of 187 Foothills Air Cadet Squadron, the poppy is a “memory of my father who was a soldier and served in World War II. He was in the British Army, along with his brother, a doctor, who died in North Africa during World War II. My father served in the Far East and the poppy helps me remember my family members who served.

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The Poppy Campaign is organized and led by local Legion volunteers in over 1,400 branches across Canada and abroad. Through donations to the Legion Poppy Fund, they can provide financial assistance and support to veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, and their families in need.

The High River Poppy Fund campaign will run until November 10 and they are available at community stores.

“If you buy a poppy in High River, the money from the poppy will go directly to our Legion and all will go towards helping veterans in the community. We donate to the High River District Health Care Foundation and Foothills Country Hospice. We have strict guidelines on how poppy money is used,” said Linda Reed, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 71 in High River.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.