Monday, October 28, 2013


I've often wondered what to do with my Remembrance Day poppy on November 12. It seems disrespectful to toss it in the garbage. Keeping it and reusing it the following November is very environmentally-friendly. Except that annual poppy sales are a huge fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion. Also, invariably after a year of sitting in my desk or the console of my car, the poppy's flocked surface is covered in lint and looks shabby. Plus I've stabbed myself 80,000 times with the straight pin.

Leaving poppies on Ottawa's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or cenotaphs, appeared to be an ideal solution.

My opinion about that changed in 2011. That was the year I spent the weekend following November 11 in the Big City. While walking through a park, I noticed a lot of red plastic littering the ground. In the manner of JB Fletcher, I followed the trail back to its source: the cenotaph. Thousands of poppies had blown off the granite monument, across the grass, into the flower beds, into the trees, into the gutter and along the adjacent roadways.

And now I look upon the poppy-leaving gesture as socially-sanctioned littering.

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I have come up with two solutions:
– cities and towns or the Legion or Air Cadets gather up the poppies at the end of the ceremony -- from the cenotaphs and/or attendees -- and dispose of them, OR
– the poppies are redesigned so they are made of something biodegradable.

The former is the one that will work for the current year, the latter one that would take time to implement. Is there another solution? What do you do with your poppy?