As people dash about, picking up Halloween treats and costumes, this weekend, they may notice that memorial Poppies are for sale. The last Friday of October, which happens to be today, marks the beginning of the Canadian Legion's yearly Poppy campaign. I learned a great deal about the history and protocol of the Poppy while researching I Love Poppies published in November of 2015. On the Royal Canadian Legion website, we learn that when we wear a Poppy, we are making a visual pledge to never forget those who served so that we might live in peace. When you see Poppies available, please make a donation, and pin a Poppy to your coat.
This past winter, my husband discovered the Canadian Fallen Heroes website. The site inspired us to, formally, honour a fallen hero from Rosetown, Saskatchewan, our hometown. My husband and I decided that since we were celebrating our 50th high school reunion in October 2017, and the planning committee would be renting the Legion Hall for some of our social events, it would be the perfect opportunity to present our Fallen Hero memorial to representatives of the legion, while sharing the idea of celebrating Canadian Fallen Heroes with our classmates. Some Legion Halls have had the joy of dedicating entire walls to these beautiful memorials. There is a photo of the Camrose Legion Hall, and their wall of heroes, on the Fallen Heroes site. If you are touched by the stories of our Canadian Fallen Heroes, you can purchase a memorial for $500.
We chose Walter Colin Ahrens, as our fallen hero, partly because we knew of his family, and, partly, because the writeup touched us. I learned that when Walter died his sister was eight months pregnant. A month after losing her brother, she gave birth to a baby boy. She named him Colin, in remembrance. Colin attended our memorial presentation and was thrilled to see his uncle up on the wall in the Rosetown Canadian Legion Hall. We spoke at length to the veterans in attendance and to the reporter from the Rosetown Eagle. It was a memorable moment for us.
When I asked my husband what he felt about the Canadian Fallen Heroes initiative, he said, “Well, at our reunion, we were celebrating 50 years of life since our grade twelve graduation, and Walter Colin Ahrens died at 23, five years out of high school. It makes me think how fortunate we have been.”
This year my husband and I will proudly wear Memorial Poppies in remembrance of our family members who served their country, but we will also remember Walter Colin Ahrens. His story can be found on the Canadian Fallen Heroes website.
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