On Nov. 11, Canadians will be wearing a simple red flower over their hearts, a poppy. "It's something that is very symbolic.
On Nov. 11, Canadians will be wearing a simple red flower over their hearts, a poppy.
"It's something that is very symbolic. It's something that is a visible representation and reminder of the sacrifice that some have paid," said 4 Wing Commander Col. Paul Doyle.
On Thursday, Oct. 26, Doyle, along with Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland and 4 Wing Acting Wing Chief Warrant Officer Frank Dwyer, accepted a poppy from the Cold Lake Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 211, as they commemorated the beginning of the 2017 Poppy Campaign.
"This is a way of making sure we maintain that legacy, maintain that connection with our history, and celebrate not only those who have, but also those who do currently serve," Doyle expressed.
Presenting the poppies to the 4 Wing Commander and mayor symbolizes the start of the Poppy Campaign in Cold Lake, where trays of the symbolic flower are distributed throughout the community to raise money that will be used to support local veterans.
Ron Pidgeon, vice president of the Cold Lake Legion, explained.
"The importance of the Poppy Campaign and remembrance is that our purpose in life as the legion is to look after veterans and their dependents to ensure they don't suffer extreme hardships."
The money raised through the campaign and the sale of Remembrance Day wreaths is used to support veterans through various ways.
In the past, the local legion has helped veterans with updating vehicles, and installing chair lifts for stairs, among other things.
A veteran applies for funding, and is then interviewed by the Cold Lake Legion's service officer. Once they have given their recommendations to the legion, the matter is taken before an executive committee who makes the decision on whether or not the need is applicable.
"It's extremely important, because the funds we raise go right back into this community," Pidgeon said.
A portion of the donations is also gifted to the Federal Poppy Fund and to cover administration costs.
Pidgeon continued, the funding is for all veterans in the community in need, not just those involved in the legion.
But, the poppy symbolizes more than just your contribution to the campaign.
"It really is a bit of a moving tribute, that in the lead up to Remembrance Day, you see people wearing poppies. It's evident right across the country," Doyle noted.
Copeland agreed, "It shows support for our present and past people who have served in the armed forces."
Poppy boxes can be found at many of the local stores, and wreaths to lay on Remembrance Day can be purchased by contacting the Cold Lake Legion at 780-639-3579.