Poppy Protocol

Originally Published on Thu Nov 05 2015 The Star.com Canada

 

Remembrance Day is less than a week away, a time when poppy protocol is in play.

Canadians have been wearing poppies since 1921 to honour war veterans. With poppies come questions about exactly how to wear them.

Here are six points from the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Manual:

1. Is it okay to change the pin?

The Legion’s position is that pins shouldn’t be substituted. That includes using a safety pin or a piece of rubber band to keep a poppy from falling off. The Legion also doesn’t like wearers using Canadian flag pins to hold on poppies but is a little flexible on this.

“It is undoubtedly better to wear a Poppy with a Canadian flag in the centre than not to wear a poppy at all,” the Legion states in its guidelines for poppy use.

2. Where is a poppy worn?

On the left lapel. The Maple Leafs have been taking to the ice recently with poppies painted on the left side of their helmets, and Maxwell says this is respectful, as well. “It’s the left side, close to your heart,” Maxwell says. “That’s the right idea.”

 

3. When should poppies be worn?

Poppies aren’t just for the traditional Remembrance Day period, which runs from the last Friday in October to the end of the day on Nov. 11. It is also respectful to wear them at other times of the year, including ceremonies to honour veterans, such as funerals.

4. Who should wear a poppy?

Anyone who wants to honour a veteran. The Legion notes that 117,000 Canadians gave their lives for freedom, which also means the freedom not to wear a poppy.

5. How many poppies is the correct amount to wear?

Whatever number seems appropriate for you, Maxwell says. Most people wear just one, but Queen Elizabeth II routinely wears several poppies when honouring the war dead. Sometimes people wear more than one because they want to honour several countries or several individuals, Maxwell says.

6. How should poppies be disposed of?

Placing them at a memorial for veterans at the end of Nov. 11 is particularly respectful. Reusing them next year isn’t.

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