et tu Royal Canadian Legion?

Well, here’s another thing that got my blood boiling….this latest rage is brought to you by the good people at the Royal Canadian Legion.  Here’s a link to the story that got my attention

So, synopsis for you non-link clickers…there is a group of Canadian Vets who’ve formed a Riding Club whose vision, according to their website is

Our vision is to grow the membership Nationally and use our shared enthusiasm for motorcycle riding, to make Veterans and Veteran Supporters feel welcome, and to do charitable works related to Veterans’ Organizations and serving members of the Canadian Forces. Other charitable works (such as the Ride for Dad) will also be supported but the emphasis will be on supporting veterans and serving Canadian Forces members.

Pretty good stuff eh?   The problem that the Legion has with them is that they dared use the poppy in their crest, so small that its “a bit difficult to see”.

The president of CFVR, Michael Blow (a retired Captain with 35 years service) received a letter from lawyers representing the RCL giving them 2 weeks to “provide a satisfactory response” or risk further legal action.

According to Bill Maxwell, the Legion Secretary, the reason that the poppy is trademarked is to prevent personal or commercial gain, or “inappropriate use”.  According to the linked article, he goes on to add:  “That’s because it’s not being used as a symbol of remembrance, but as part of a logo.”

Unless Sun Media has taken to misquoting people, he actually said that…it’s being used as the crest of an organization of military veterans, and he doesn’t think its being used a symbol of remembrance.   So, if I understand his point the use of the poppy symbol by non-Legion veterans is inappropriate, even if they are in fact an organization supporting veterans.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against the Legion as a whole.  They do some great work. I was really pleased to see their program aimed at helping homeless vets. With any large organization there are people who have this unbending devotion to the rules with what appears to me to be a complete lack of common sense.

Let me put it this way….when you think about remembering Canada’s Fallen what symbol comes to mind?  If I have to tell you the Poppy then come seek me out so I can kick you in the nads. (and I’ve been doing a lot of XBOX Kinect aerobics and zombie killing, so I can kick pretty hard)

That being said, if the poppy has a monopoly on Remembrance, why then does the Legion have a monopoly on the Poppy?  The Legion’s own website states:

The Poppy also stands internationally as a “symbol of collective reminiscence”, as other countries have also adopted its image to honour those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The Poppy Fund does good work, so I will, as I have every year, drop a few toonies in the collection box and wear my poppy proudly….I will repeat this process several times as they seem to always fall out.   I will be at the Cenotaph Ceremony here in Stratford at 11am on November 11th as I always am.

But I have to call on the Legion to show some decency towards other veterans.  You were made wards of the Poppy symbol in 1948 to prevent its abuse.  In denying the rights of other veterans to use it for non-commercial purposes, you yourselves are abusing it.

 

 

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