Poppies are on the way to Portage la Prairie.
From November 1st through to the 11th, you'll most likely see Portagers wearing the red flower to show support for military members and veterans. Bob Oldford, Portage Legion Branch #65's media liaison, says the origin of the wearable Poppy goes back to Europe.
"The idea of remembrance poppy was imagined by a lady from France, Madame Anne Guerin," notes Oldford. "She was inspired by John McCrae's poem (In Flanders Field). She founded a charity that helped rebuild the regions of France after World War I and created poppies made of fabric. She presented her concepts to French allies, including the predecessor of the Royal Canadian Legion, which was the Great War Veterans Association."
Oldford adds that some of the history behind the poppies is that, during World War I, some of the fields in France were blown up by shells, and the blood that flowed from the soldiers on both sides activated something in the soil, leading to the growth of the poppies. The Legion Branch #65 started selling poppies on October 27th.
"Poppies will be available in many different stores in town, and on the 4th of November, the Army and Air cadets from our community, along with some members of the military school down at Southport, will be out selling poppies at many of the stores and locations throughout town," says Oldford.
The Legion will also be bringing back the Portage Community Poppy Trust Fund. Oldford explains the fund assists organizations in Portage la Prairie that support active military, veterans, and their families.
"Places like the Herman Prior Activity Centre, which provide meals to veterans and stuff like that, and various other organizations across the Portage area that are in support of helping veterans and their military and their families (can use the trust fund)," says Oldford.
Any organizations interested in using the trust fund must submit their forms by the 17th of November. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered in person to the Legion building.
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