Today I had a conversation with a fellow public historian, Steph Johns, about poppy etiquette. She shared a story with me from last year when some one berated her for wearing a poppy after Remembrance Day. Apparently this is seen as disrespectful? Neither of us had heard that this could be offensive before! It made me want to look into some common poppy etiquette.
Well first I have to say that whatever angle this person was going for is total bologna. After some research on various forums, the British Legion and some other websites, I found an answer that seemed to reoccur (in the rare case that a site actually discussed removing a poppy). According to the British Legion (as the Canadian Legion does not discuss this issue), while the poppy is most often removed after Remembrance Day, people are completely free to wear it all year round. It’s a symbol of respect and support for those soldiers who have fallen in war and not an offensive thing to wear at other times of year.
So how about when we should start wearing our poppy? NOW!!! The poppy campaign has started (it starts on a different date each year) and it’s time to start sporting yours. Although many reserve it for the week of Remembrance, I’m going to encourage you to start wearing yours now.
Where to Wear? Over your heart on the left side! Not on the hip of your shorts, not on your hat, not on your right side. While most will forgive minor indiscretions in this area (myself included) since it’s better that you wear one in the wrong place than forget altogether, don’t you want to wear it in the most respectful place possible- where it was made for? Simple enough.
Finally, how do we solve this problem of poppies falling off, poking us and generally slipping and sliding? I have a few easy enough solutions. First is a rubber earring back. This way the sharp end doesn’t stab you and it doesn’t fall off, although you may experience some slip n’ slide. My second solution is to pin the center but please I beg you not with the Hello Kitty pin you bought in grade ten. You can pick up pins made specifically for this from some poppy outlets. Just keep an eye out! By doing this you are still maintaining respect for the Poppy Campaign and financially supporting it as well. Here’s the one a friend picked up for me this year.
The overall message of this blog post would be WEAR A POPPY. This is the most important part; if you got nothing else from this blog post but that you need to wear a poppy I’ll be satisfied with the job I’ve done. Otherwise, try your best to wear the poppy in the best way possible and show your support for the Royal Canadian Legion and those soldiers who lost their lives in past and current wars.