I have been wearing poppies for as long as I can remember. Every November 1st, out they would come. And for the next 11 days, they would take their rightful place on jackets, sweaters, dress shirts… well you get my point.
I remember being a part of several Remembrance Day celebrations in Ottawa. Hundreds of Veterans marching down to the War Memorial in the freezing cold. I was always so proud to meet these former soldiers. These real Canadian heroes.
Wearing a poppy now has a much different meaning then it did when I was younger. Working in war zones has brought home the true price of war. I have been given rare and thankfully fleeting glimpses into the horrors of war.
But being here in Kuwait seems, from the outside, close to the “action”. Only a few hours flight away, ISIS is murdering innocent people everyday. Overhead, bombs are being dropped from Coalition fighter jets in Syria and Iraq. But the reality is, this city might aswell be on the other side of the planet, because the nearby conflict doesn’t seem to impact any part of their daily lives.
I spoke with some Kuwaitis, asking them if they knew 600 Canadian soldiers were hunkered down just outside their city. They didn’t have a clue. And truly, they didn’t care.
Today, I was about to do a live hit when two men in white robes stopped and stared. Finally, when I caught their eyes they blurted out, “you must be Canadian.”
A little taken aback I responded “why do you ask?”
“It’s the poppy. Only Canadians where a poppy like that.”
Now, that got me interested. “How do you know that.” I blurted out.
“I’m from Mississauga.” one of the men said with a thick Kuwaiti accent. “Where are you from.”
A little surprised I said, “Toronto.”
And like that we were friends. They came over and shook my hand. They wanted to talk about Canada. They wanted to know what the weather has been like lately.
They asked about the terrorist attack at the War Memorial.
Then it dawned on me, it was the poppy that started this entire conversation. It was this little symbol that most people in this world know nothing about.
But it is two little pieces of fuzzy plastic and a pin that screams – I AM A CANADIAN – and for that, I couldn’t be more proud.
Please, buy a poppy, support our veterans.