The local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion kicked off its 2022 Poppy Campaign by pinning the first one on the lapel of Mayor Jeff Genung on Oct. 27.

It's become a local tradition that Mayor Genung applauds.

"It follows the tradition of having the Governor-General receive the first poppy for Canada. It's pretty special to have the mayor recognized and kick off the campaign and help us remember," says Mayor Genung.

A room in the basement of the Legion was filled with poppies and wreaths in preparation for the days leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. The poppies are now being distributed to businesses and schools for people to purchase.

Local Poppy Chair Janet Faynor, also the branch's executive secretary, says they have a supply of 10,000 poppies in addition to hundreds of wreaths that are sold to businesses, agencies, and individuals to lay at the Community Cenotaph.

Poppy collection boxes are being widely distributed throughout the business community and in our schools.

She says it's all about helping our veterans and their families.

"All funds go to support local veterans, and even in Calgary we support the service offices there who also help our local veterans."

In Cochrane, the secure poppy collection boxes, designed to prevent theft, were introduced in 2016 to give both businesses and donors peace of mind. Faynor says they have 167 that are available for use in retail outlets.

Due to construction underway on 4th St. and Hwy. 1A, there won't be an indoor segment on the ceremony at Cochrane High this year. The Remembrance Day ceremony starts at 10:45 a.m. sharp at the cenotaph and people are encouraged to arrive early.

It's a well-attended service that draws hundreds each year and at its end, more and more people have been placing their poppies at the foot of the community cenotaph. An impressive number of families and young people have also been placing their own wreaths, some of them homemade.

For those who can't attend, the service is being streamed live.

wreathsFrom left, Steve Merritt, Shaun Simpson, and Brian Walford visited local cemeteries last year to mark the known graves of veterans with wreaths. It has become a tradition and in the past has also involved members of the army cadet corps. (file photo)

A few days in advance of Remembrance Day, Legion members carefully place wreaths and take a moment of silence at the graves of veterans at the local cemetery who laid down their lives for our country.

2nd vice-president Shaun Simpson headed up the team last year, and will again this time.

"The reason why we remember our veterans is to remember what their sacrifice means to our freedom and that we shouldn't take for granted the liberties we have today," says Simpson. "It's nice to have one day where we can sit there and be humble, and think about what could have been if it wasn't for our veterans who fought for our freedom."


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Poppy chair Janet Faynor, 2nd vice-president Shaun Simpson, Mayor Jeff Genung, and Legion president Steve Jepson.