The 2012 national poppy campaign is officially underway.
The poppy, a symbol of remembrance for more than 90 years now, launched the 2012 National Poppy Campaign on Oct. 24 at Rideau Hall. Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife Sharon were joined by the Royal Canadian Legion’s grand president Larry Murray and the dominion president of the Royal Canadian Legion Gordon Moore.
“I find it hard to imagine a more appropriate cause,” Johnston said.
Pinned with the first poppy of the campaign, Johnston said the campaign renews the solemn bond with veterans, past and present.
“This small, scarlet flower speaks volumes about the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and veterans, and it starkly reminds us of the tragedy of war,” Johnston said.
Murray, who thanked the Governor General for his ongoing support for the Canadian Forces, and his personal engagement in the campaign, noted the importance of wearing a single poppy over one’s heart.
“Whether World War 1, World War 2, Korea, the many peace support operations since including the war in Afghanistan and the recent conflict in Libya, survivors and fallen heroes alike may take comfort in our efforts to remember,” Murray said.
The event welcomed veterans from the Second World War and the Korean and Afghanistan wars.
“That the First World War wasn’t, in fact, the last war speaks to the fact that our veterans and their loved ones have continued to make sacrifices in the decades since,” he said. “In war and in peacetime, members of the Canadian Forces have been steadfast in their service to our country.”
Johnston personally welcomed and handed out poppies to some of the Second World War veterans in attendance, taking the time to speak to each person individually.
The governor general also encouraged everyone to visit the national honours exhibit, located at 90 Wellington St. The exhibit, From Far and Wide: Honouring Great Canadians opened in May and showcases Canada’s national honours and the contributions of Canadians.
Sharon, Murray and Moore all received a poppy at the launch, with poppies becoming available to the general public beginning on Oct. 26.
The symbol of the poppy was adopted in 1921 recognizing the 117, 000 Canadian men and women who gave their lives during military service around the world.
Each year, 18 million poppies are distributed across Canada.