Monday, December 24, 2007

Poppy Etiquette.

Every year, I note with pride and gratitude the number of Canadians who wear the poppy during the month of November. I am supposing that most who wear it understand the why of it all. Yet also every year, seemingly without fail, I note those who continue wearing the poppy once Remembrance Day has come and gone.

It goes without saying that were any of these people wearing military attire, I would confront them and proceed to give them a violent tongue-lashing which would leave them with their ears ringing and their dignity in tatters. Military personnel have no reason, or excuse, or will to insult the memory of our war dead, which is what the wearing of the poppy beyond Remembrance Day accomplishes. Why, I would hazard to state that even the youngest, greenest recruit would not commit so ghastly and terrible a misstep as this.

So why is it then, that a disproportionate number of civilians are seen wearing the poppy after November the 11th.? Is it possible that they have never learned what to do with their poppy on Remembrance Day? Do they think it simply a fall fashion statement? Let's assume so, for the sake of being magnanimous and not wanting to believe that this mass insult is indeed intentional.

"What do I do with my poppy?" For the record, the proper fashion of removing and disposing of a poppy is as follows:

Following the attending of Remembrance Day ceremonies at any Cenotaph in Canada, the wearer will then approach said cenotaph and lay his/her poppy amongst the wreaths laid there during the ceremonies. And voilĂ ….

For those who do not attend Remembrance Day ceremonies, first of all: Shame on you. There… I said it and I'm glad.

Secondly, if you are not close to any type of ceremonies or a cenotaph, by twelve noon you may remove your poppy and dispose of it however you wish. I attend the ceremonies here in Ottawa and yes, it's a logistical nightmare to get near the cenotaph during the ceremonies proper. I simply return a little later and lay it down, normally upon the Tomb of the Unknown, with an added prayer for those who are still missing or unaccounted for.

We do still have 8 who are unaccounted for in Southeast Asia…

Yes, I know…some people hoard poppies at home so they won't have to buy another one next year. I will purposely refrain from commenting on this practise…

So there you have it.

Now you know when to stop wearing your poppy and what to do with it.
Please don't count yourself amongst the ranks of the utterly clueless next year.

We're Canadians, goddammit.…. We really ought to know better.

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