Greater Victoria legions launch poppy campaign Friday

Poppies offer a chance for Victoria residents to reflect on freedom, says legion organizer

The Royal Canadian Legion's annual poppy campaign is once again rolling out across Greater Victoria.

The Royal Canadian Legion's annual poppy campaign is once again rolling out across Greater Victoria.

It’s been 98 years since Canadian doctor John McCrae penned arguably the most famous war poem in history, and the legacy it inspired is now as common a sight as falling leaves on an autumn day.

The Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy campaign, derived from McRae’s poignant ***Flanders Fields, kicks off once again today in advance of Remembrance Day.

“It’s a way for people to reflect on all the benefits they have of being in Canada, for our freedom,” said Pat Patterson, chair of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Victoria poppy campaign.

The donations received through the poppy campaign serve as the primary fundraiser for local legions, whose members work throughout the year to benefits seniors and the community.

“We put on the Seniors Games, we put on kids sports, we’re one of the largest developers of seniors housing in the country,” Patterson said.

Poppies symbolize not only the sacrifice of soldiers, but of merchant marines as well, he said.

“The merchant navy, nobody ever gives them any credit. If it wasn’t for them, we’d all be speaking German.”

Pick up a poppy at one of hundreds of businesses throughout Greater Victoria, and wear it with pride until Nov. 11.

dpalmer@vicnews.com