Poppy protocol: six rules you need to follow for Remembrance Day

Poppy of remembrance

Poppies are worn to mark Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, each year.

Poppy of remembrance

Ajax News Advertiser

DURHAM — It may be Halloween but it’s also the period leading up to Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, when we honour the men and women who served this country in times of war, many of them giving their lives in doing so.

The Royal Canadian Legion has begun selling its poppies of remembrance across our communities and the red symbols are popping up on people’s lapels too. With all of these poppies come questions about exactly how to wear them.

Here are six points from the 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 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, closest to your heart.

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?

Most people wear just one, but Queen Elizabeth 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.

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.