It’s almost time for people in Grande Prairie to purchase a poppy. Royal Canadian Legion Branch #54 President Maurie Pyrcz presented Mayor Bill Given with the first poppy of the season on Monday morning to kick off the annual campaign. Pyrcz says wearing a poppy is a way to honour those who have served.
“The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for our soldiers that have fought and laid their lives on behalf of our country to give us the freedom and the rights that we have today. It’s just our way to honour them forever.”
This year is the 100th anniversary of the armistice, which was the agreement made on November 11 to end the First World War. Pyrcz says that at sunset on Remembrance Day, every church in the city will ring its bell 100 times to mark the occasion. As a former veteran herself, Pyrcz says it means a lot to her and other veterans to have Remembrance Day and a symbol like the poppy.
“For veteran’s that are still alive, it’s a way for them to be recognized and have a special day for everything they’ve done for the country…It’s a symbol of appreciation and it’s something that every veteran everywhere really respects and appreciates. Being a veteran is important for themselves and it’s important for the country.”
Poppies will be available at local stores starting October 26. Legion members will also be at the mall with poppies the week leading up to Remembrance Day. All money raised during the campaign will stay in Grande Prairie and go to veterans in need and their families.