The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign is gearing up. The Poppy, the international symbol of Remembrance, is worn from the last Friday in October until the end of the day on Nov. 11.
Lt-Colonel John McCrae is the person who was responsible more than any other for the adoption of the Poppy in Canada. With his poem, In Flanders Field, his words immortalized the thoughts of our soldiers and became the symbol of Remembrance for those who died.
The Poppies that you see today were first made in 1922 by disabled veterans under the protection of the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment. This process continued under the guide of Veterans Affairs Canada until 1996 when it became no longer viable to maintain this operation. Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion volunteered and was awarded the production contract as it remains today.
All funds raised through our Poppy Campaign support our veterans and serving military members and their families. These funds, which are public funds, are disbursed under strict guidelines to ensure they are used in the correct manner. When approved, funds may be used for housing and care facilities for elderly and disabled veterans, senior services such as meals on wheels and senior drop in centres. Funds are also used for bursaries for the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of veterans, as well as supporting cadet programs. If you know of someone who may require a bursary, please refer them to our website at http://mbnwo.ca/youth.htm
Last year the Veterans Transition Network was the recipient of a $90,000 grant. The VTN, provides specialised counselling to help veterans deal with issues such as PTSD and transition them back into civilian life. This program is life changing for our veterans and we would not be able to assist without the generosity of the public in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. PTSD is an invisible wound, affecting an estimated 10 per cent of veterans, making it a frustrating reality for both the affected military personnel and their families. This mental health condition may be described as a psychological response to an intense traumatic experience.
Command Poppy Funds have also been used to support national projects such as $500,000 being donated to the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation Fund to obtain PET-MRI technology. This foundation is partnered with the Canadian Armed Forces and is the only hospital in Canada that operates an operational stress injury clinic specializing in outpatient programs serving our CAF veterans.
Nationally the Poppy Funds are assisting the Invictus Games, which were recently held in Toronto. The games provided an excellent forum for our ill and injured veteran athletes to inspire their recovery and support rehabilitation among their peers.
Northwest Legion Command.