On Tuesday October 25th, 2022, I was in attendance at Rideau Hall for the launch of the National Poppy Campaign. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General, received the first poppy of the campaign, which are available to the public as of October 28th.
Any event at Rideau Hall feels special, but this one felt especially so…it felt distinct. In attendance were many veterans, each decorated with a number of medals signifying a variety of things: years of service, tours of duty, and special commendations. They arrived in quiet dignity, filing into the ballroom slowly; reverently. While the poppy campaign, and Remembrance Day itself can be emotional for any Canadian, for veterans, they hold further significance. It is a time when the rest of the country actively joins them in their remembering and their grieving. When the sacrifices that were made by both them and those who are no longer with us, are acknowledged.
Everyone in attendance seemed to recognize the somber and subdued tone of the ceremony. While many events at Rideau Hall are wonderfully bursting with fanfare, this one was not; it was appropriately quiet and respectful.
After a warm welcome to these distinguished guests from Her Excellency, Mr. Bruce Julian, Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion, presented her with the first poppy of the campaign. He was joined by Mr. Larry Murray, Grand President of the Royal Canadian Legion.
After receiving her poppy, Her Excellency pinned poppies on the following six Perley Rideau Resident veterans: Roland Lalonde, Audrey Copley, Alex Kowbel, Gerald Hibberd, Joseph Quinn, and Fredrick Hobbs. She also greeted the following Perley Rideau Resident Veterans: Arnold Roberts, Jim Shipton, Connie Stinson, Gerald Hibberd, Joseph Quinn, and Fredrick Hobbs.
It was very powerful to witness these interactions: Her Excellency is Canada’s Commander in Chief, and these veterans, men and women who dedicated their lives to serving our great Nation, were aptly respectful. Her Excellency responded reciprocally, sincerely greeting the veterans and thanking them for their service to Canada. The ceremony concluded with the singing of O Canada, which is always a highlight for me.
I urge you, fellow Ottawans, to demonstrate your gratitude and respect to veterans by wearing a poppy. And if you happen upon a veteran, or a current member of The Canadian Armed Forces, be sure to thank them wholeheartedly.
Written by the Covert Ottawa Guy Special Correspondent for Diplomatic events.