Maple Creek News-Times
Veterans’ Week 2020 is a time to remember those from wars fought and the continuing effort to honour the fallen, the safely returned, and those currently in the line of duty.
Glenn Miller is a great resource for readers who would like to know a little bit more about Remembrance Day and its importance throughout Canada, including in Maple Creek and area. Miller is a member of a branch of The Last Post Fund.
Poppies are a universal way for Canadians to show their support to local Legions and to Veterans from across the country and abroad.
In some communities in recent years, Miller has noticed, there are residents who don’t seem to wear poppies until Remembrance Day.
Miller noted when people see a poppy for sale, they should make a donation to their local Legion or Veterans’ fund, and put one on to wear during Veterans’ Week and leading up to Remembrance Day.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Miller said. “And, the liberation of the Netherlands.”
“We mark the end of the Second World War in Europe, and the liberation of the Netherlands, and how Canadians participated in that liberation — and how that appreciation is still shown today by the Dutch in very strong terms,” Miller added. The Second World War ended in 1945.
One of those ways, Miller continued, is through the annual tulips planted in Ottawa. “A gift from the Dutch to Canadians.”
According to Canada.ca — every spring, Ottawa-Gatineau comes alive with a dazzling display of colourful tulips. Close to one million of the flowers bloom in parks and gardens across the capital region. The tulips are part of a tradition that dates back to the Second World War, and are a symbol of the enduring friendship between Canada and the Netherlands.
It was stated online through Canada.ca, when the Netherlands was invaded during the Second World War, Dutch Princess Juliana and her family were forced to flee. “Juliana and her two young daughters set sail for Canada, an allied country and safe haven far from the conflict. The three were given a warm welcome in Ottawa, where they lived throughout the war.”
“In the occupied Netherlands, the Dutch people experienced hardship, oppression, and starvation. In 1945, their ordeal came to an end — as the Allies advanced across the country. Canadians played a significant role in the liberation of the Netherlands, an accomplishment for which the Dutch still remember.”
After the war, it was stated on Canada.ca, the Dutch people expressed thanks to Canada by sending thousands of tulip bulbs to the capital. The “Gift of Tulips” became a yearly tradition. Every year, the Dutch Royal Family and the people of the Netherlands each send 10,000 bulbs to Ottawa.
Even though Remembrance Day ceremonies will be different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still activities for young and old to take part in to honour Veterans.
For youth today, Miller said, a simple way to express thanks and to honour Veterans is to create homemade “thank you” cards to Veterans.
After Remembrance Day, youth can drop off the cards to their local Legion and the branch can help distribute and forward cards onto local Veterans in long-term care facilities or elsewhere.
“So those Veterans are getting some contact —because they’re still locked down,” Miller said, adding this is a way for Veterans to be recognized by the community.
Canadian youth also had an opportunity to enter the Legion’s annual poster and literary contest, as well. Miller pointed out youth can also check out Canadian coins to see what kind of military symbols have been used to honour Veterans in Canada.
“On the back of the $20 bill is the Vimy Ridge monument. The first coloured coin was the quarter — it was the poppy.” Miller added this year there is also a commemorative $2 coin in circulation.
There’s also nothing to prevent youth from wearing poppies too, if they choose to honour Veterans this Remembrance Day, Miller said.
Community members can also take an extra moment on Remembrance Day to pause and respect wherever they may be, in a meaningful way.
With 2020 being an anniversary to be marked, Miller said, when community members shake their own family tree and if they’ve had any relatives who have served, community members could find out if that relative has a permanent grave marker.
“If they don’t, they can be empowered to call The Last Post Fund and start an application to have that Veteran’s grave marked with a military-style marker,” Miller said.
According to lastpostfund.ca, The Last Post Fund’s mission is to ensure, “no Veteran is denied a dignified funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone — due to insufficient funds at time of death.