Remembrance Day: purple poppies are for service animals only


For the second year in a row, volunteers gather at the Veterans Association food bank in Calgary to crochet purple Remembrance Day poppies.

The Purple Poppy Campaign is a complementary or alternative poppy to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Red Poppy.

The purple poppy is a way for people to recognize the significant loss of life for service animals in wars and conflicts.

Leanne Vanderveer leads social media, marketing and administration for the Veterans Association Food Bank and is the volunteer coordinator of the Purple Poppy Campaign.

She says animals have played a bigger role in global conflicts than many people realize.

“There are a lot of dogs that are still in use in Afghanistan today,” she said.

“Dogs sniffed out IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and they used rats, I believe, in World War I and World War II also they used pigeons and horses. There were many different uses, and they were part of integral to the success and service of their country.”

Vanderveer has a goal of 1,200 crocheted purple poppies this Remembrance Day that are sold for $10 each.

“All sales and proceeds from these poppies go to our Pet Promise program,” she said.

“Currently we have approximately 404 pets in our program that we serve to ensure that veterans and their entire families are taken care of because these furry animals, you know how important they are.”

The association says the veterans who come are in favor of the purple poppies and what they stand for.

“A lot of them have their own service or pet now that they’re back home,” Vanderveer said.

“They want to honor them, they know how important they are, so they’re all for supporting this program and anything they can do to help.”

Alison Mercer is the curator of the Air Force Museum of Alberta and says it’s good that military service animals are recognized.

“The service and, I guess you could say, the sacrifice of what all these different types of animals have done over the years in terms of human involvement in war and Canadian involvement in war has been huge and very remarkable – and something that really isn’t talked about much.”

Mercer points out that in 1943, the Dickin Medal was awarded to service animals in recognition of their accomplishments and sacrifices.

“It’s basically the equivalent of the Victoria Cross that could be awarded to animals for exemplary service, and it was awarded posthumously to some of the animals of the First World War,” he said. she declared.

“Warrior, who was General Jack Seely’s horse – he was the General of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade – and Warrior had been through a ton of different things, should have been killed a bunch of times, but went on so he got the Dickin’s Medal.”

She adds that a World War II pigeon was awarded the Dickin Medal for relaying the news of Deippe’s landing in England.

Vanderveer says the purple poppies will be sold at kiosks in Sunridge Mall and Marlborough Mall from November 1-10.

To learn more about the Veterans Association Food Bank, you can visit the organization’s website.


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