On Monday, the annual tradition of beautiful knitted and crocheted poppies decorating the clock in Rotary Park came alive once again. Brenda Ward takes on the organization of the project every year, with poppies coming in from all over the world.
The idea for the knitted and crocheted poppies came about to help young people remember the true reason for Remembrance Day, and what the day means. The knitting pattern from which the poppies are created was borrowed from an Australian organization called 5000 Poppies. Wanting to keep the initiative local, Brenda enlisted the help of the local knitting group to make poppies and drop them off at Grahame’s Bakery. Brenda was able to get permission from the Municipality for the poppies to be hung off the clock at Rotary Park. Now in its fifth year, the initiative continues to grow. Other area communities including Winchester and Chesterville now have their own poppy display, which Brenda thinks is great. She notes that there is a display at the Cenotaph on Prescott St as well.
There are many different variations of the poppies that are created, including those made in different shades of red and with different materials.
Brenda feels that there is a diminishing understanding of the true meaning of Remembrance Day, particularly since the population of aging veterans is shrinking. Brenda believes it is important to rectify this lack of understanding. A laminated, hand-coloured poppy from a boy who wanted to contribute but was unable to knit or crochet is still put on display every year, as an annual reminder that small gestures are just as impactful as big ones.
Brenda insists that she will never sell the knitted and crocheted poppies, as she feels this would take away support from the Legion’s own fundraising poppy campaign. When people want to contribute to the campaign financially, Brenda suggests that they donate some yarn. One of her favourite things to do on Remembrance Day is to sit somewhere anonymously at Rotary Park and take in the reactions of passersby as they observe the beauty of the poppy display.
One more special addition this year: poppies on rocks! Brenda is excited and proud that a local teacher from Kemptville Public School. – Mr. Lachance – had his students paint poppies on rocks (76 students painting 140 rocks, to be precise), for display at both the Cenotaph and in Rotary Park.
Brenda is reminding locals (and those abroad) that making poppies for the poppy display is not limited to a certain time of year. They can be dropped off at Grahame’s Bakery or mailed to her year round at Leeds Grenville Fibre Extravaganza, 779 County Road 44, Kemptville, Ontario, K0G 1J0. Anyone seeking more information can get in touch by email at [email protected].