The Ultimate Sacrifice !

If you are walking down the streets of Windsor, Ontario, or driving on some of them, something unusual may attract your attention, if you are really a curious person. You may ask yourself: why some street signs bear the poppy flower? What is the significance of having a symbol known for its opium capabilities on certain street names that sound like they belong to Europe rather than Canada ?

When I immigrated to Canada in the early 2000, I was fortunate enough to volunteer with the Windsor Historical Society. Few months later, the society started what they called the Veterans Memories Project. Their goal has always been to celebrate and preserve the stories of local WWI and WW2 of Windsor and Essex soldiers, who joined the Canadian armies to serve in Europe, and to teach the younger generations, and new Canadians, about the ultimate sacrifices that were made by those young men in the past, so we can appreciate the freedoms we all enjoy in Canada today.

Through the interviews we had with so many of our local veterans, I’ve learned things you wouldn’t normally find in mainstream media. First hand stories of courageous acts and sacrifices by people like you and me. That’s when I learned about the significance of the poppy by listening to a poem titled in Flanders Fields, written by a Canadian soldier named John McCrae, and recited below by the late Mr. J White.

Although the poppy was a symbol of remembrance since the Napoleonic wars, McCrae’s poem helped giving it a permanent significance in our collective memory. The poppy was adopted by the Royal Canadian Legion as its official Flower of Remembrance on July 5, 1921, while streets in Windsor adopted the names of known World War battels that occured in Europe.

It was just a matter of time until the WHS got involved in documenting the efforts of getting those poppies on some of our local street signs. The slide show below testifies to that fact back in 2005.

If you ever visit our fair city and happen to cross by one of those street signs with the poppies, you now know the story behind them. So, this coming November the 11th, 2019 while Canada remembers all our past and present veterans, if you happen to meet one of them anywhere, it would be mighty nice of you to thank them for their service.

PS. Video and photos featured the following:

  • John White (Video)
  • Stan Jones
  • Stan Schizlawoski
  • Larry Costello
  • Father Mady
  • Dann Bouzide
  • Louis Gouin
  • Eddie Francis