June 15, 2024

Remembrance Day is over, and so is the weeklong showings of war movies and history specials, but while many people are quite content to move on to prepare for the Christmas rush, I am stuck with one giant question, where have all the poppies gone? And what happens to them?

A couple of years ago, shortly after Remembrance Day, I started noticing garbage cans and sidewalks littered with forgotten poppies. The symbol is eternal and important to me and, in my opinion, should be something worn year-round and not just one month out of the year. So when I see discarded poppies in trash cans and gutters it irritates me.

The poppy is a symbol of remembering those who fought and died for our freedom and when you throw it out it’s like you no longer care, that is, until next year’s Remembrance Day rolls around.

With people around the world trying to do everything as “green” as possible you think we would have some sort of system where we could drop poppies off in a box for recycling. We recycle cans and cups, papers and plastics, so why not poppies? They serve an important purpose and it’s not like we only have Remembrance Day once every couple of years. It would certainly save money considering we wouldn’t have to be manufacturing new ones on a consistent basis and money would still be donated.

The premise of this is pain- fully simple – leave poppy recycling boxes in the same places that poppy donation boxes are left and wait for people to drop off any unwanted, unused or found poppies. While not everyone is going to take advantage of this, some will, and some symbols of hope will be pre- served. If this caught on, instead of mass producing new poppies for next year we could put the money saved into things that truly honour the memory of our soldiers such as veteran funding and assisted living, and helping those who have just returned from battle with injuries or mental health issues.

Until a program starts, please hold on to yours. Think of what it represents and what it means when you throw it away. Put it in a safe spot and wait for next year or leave it on your jacket. You can still donate to the poppy campaign in 2013, you just won’t need a poppy.