While the lieutenant-governor was the first person in Saskatchewan to officially wear a poppy this year, it might’ve meant the most to the person who received one directly after.
Harold Hague, a 98-year-old Second World War veteran, was the second person to wear a poppy, with lieutenant-governor Thomas Molloy pinning it on his uniform.
Hague served in the Navy and was a mine-sweeper on D-Day on Omaha Beach.
“We swept the mines on all the beaches — all the way down; five beaches we swept during the first part of the invasion,” Hague remembered.
He said it meant a lot to him to get the poppy from Molloy on Friday.
“We strive to be remembered,” Hague said. “Through the poppy and the legion’s programs, we create an awareness that over a million men and women died in Canada’s wars and what they sacrificed.”
He said it’s important to reach out to the younger generation to ensure they understand what the poppy symbolizes.
“Reach out to the young people, reach out to everybody and create a feeling of gratitude in those people and be happy that we live in a democratic country,” Hague said.
He added he feels a sense of pride when he sees people wearing the poppy.
About 21 million poppies are expected to go out this year, with all donations going towards helping the legions provide programming for veterans — from helping homeless veterans to providing others with service animals.
“The funds go and help all the veterans and what we call now the younger veterans. They all need help, so we do help them a lot with the poppy fund,” Lorne Varga, provincial president of the Saskatchewan command, said.
He added they have stick-on poppies for the younger kids so they don’t hurt themselves with the pins.
About 450,000 poppies are expected to go out in Saskatchewan this year.