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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

We will remember them: 100th year of the poppy celebrated during Remembrance Day

by Sylene Argent

On Thursday, area residents gathered at the local cenotaph with members of the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) to pay their respects to the men and women who served their country in the name of freedom.

  On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, residents took part in a moment of silence to reflect on the sacrifices service men and women made, up to and including their lives, for their country.  

  Essex Legion President Erroll Caza explained Remembrance Day, originally Armistice Day, has commenced since the one-year anniversary of the end of the First World War.

  “It was to remember the ultimate sacrifices of the brave military [personnel], who were seriously physically and psychologically injured or ultimately died in their efforts towards peace for their country,” Caza said. “We gather each year on this day to remember our Veterans, in recognizing their dedication and sacrifice for our freedoms.”

  This year marked the centennial anniversary of the poppy, which “is the symbol of remembrance of those Veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who served proudly in maintaining the freedoms we enjoy year day,” Caza said. “For those Veterans who survived, participated, and supported these conflicts among us today, we wear the poppy to recognize them. We know that many suffer nonphysical lasting injuries and when we say ‘thank you for your sacrifice and service’ in person, these feelings are also a nonverbal ‘thank you’ by wearing a poppy.”

  Caza added 2021 also marks the 30th year since the end of the Gulf War, where over 4000 Canadian Armed Forces members, from all branches, served in combat roles during a conflict. This was the first-time women served in combat roles during a conflict.  

  “Fortunately, no Canadians were killed, but, rest assured, their participation resulted in a lasting toll for many of them.”

  Caza recognized the names of the 242 Navy, Army, Airforce, and Merchant Navy of Essex, who paid the ultimate sacrifice. “There are many more of our fellow Essex citizens not listed as actual death in battle, however, died directly as a result of their physical and mental turmoil upon their return to home.”  

  In recognition of all who have served, Caza said, “We will remember them, we will always recognize them, we will always thank them. To all our Veterans – past and present – thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for your service.”


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