Remembrance Day: 5 things to think about today

Politics

Worn by everyone from young children to aging veterans, the poppy has been a symbol of respect and gratitude for the last century. But when you see all the poppies on lapels today, you may also want to consider: Who sells the poppies and why, who benefits from the proceeds, and what more can be done in Canada to support veterans and their families.

1. Poppy sales and programs they support

Thick rows of poppies grew over soldiers’ graves in Flanders, France, and were the inspiration for the now famous poem that Canadian medic Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote on a scrap of paper in 1915 during the First World War. Today, most schoolchildren can recite the first two lines of McCrae’s poem: In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row. The poem was also the inspiration for wearing poppies on lapels every November as a sign of remembrance.

Thousands of volunteers with the Royal Canadian Legion sell these poppies across Canada each year. In the 2016 Poppy Campaign, more than 21.5 million poppies were distributed, and $16.7 million in donations were used to support veterans and their families between October 2016 to October 2017.

The poppy sale proceeds provide financial assistance to veterans in need in many ways, including:

Grants for food, living expenses, medication, emergency shelter.
Housing and care facilities.
Programs that help veterans transition from military to civilian life.
Accessibility modifications to help veterans with disabilities.
Educational bursaries for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans.
Community drop-in centres, meals-on-wheels, and seniors services in areas with many veterans.
Administering Remembrance Day activities.
Vancouver, BC: NOVEMBER 11, 2017 — Annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Victory Square Cenotaph in Vancouver, BC Saturday, November 11, 2017. (Photo by Jason Payne/ PNG) (For story by Glenda Luymes) ORG XMIT: remembranceday [PNG Merlin Archive]

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Annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the Victory Square Cenotaph in Vancouver, BC Saturday, November 11, 2017.

2. Veterans by the numbers

There are 649,300 veterans in Canada:

48,300 served in the Second World War or Korean War.
601,000 are Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) veterans, from regular and primary reserves.
B.C. has the third-highest number of veterans with 91,700, behind Quebec (120,600) and Ontario (235,700).
10 per cent of veterans are women.

Average age

93 — Second World War
86 — Korean War
60 — Regular CAF
55 — Primary Reserves

Changing demographics

Veterans Affairs …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics

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