By DAVID HILL
Canterbury’s RSAs hope to be selling poppies to coincide with Armistice Day in November.
All Anzac Day services around the country have been cancelled because of the global coronavirus pandemic, while Poppy Day, normally held on the Friday, a week before Anzac Day, has been suspended.
While disappointed they cannot celebrate Anzac Day with their communities, Kaiapoi RSA president Neill Price and his Rangiora counterpart Ian Thompson say another lot of Christchurch-made poppies has arrived ready for sale.
“We have ordered all our poppies and they are ready to go,” Mr Price says. “No decision has been made, but we will have Poppy Day at another appropriate day, such as Armistice Day.
“Poppy Day is very important to us to fundraise to support our veterans and their families,” he says.
Mr Thompson says Armistice Day is the most likely time to hold Poppy Day, if the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided by then.
Armistice Day marks the laying down of weapons at 11am on November 11, 1918, which marked the end of fighting in World War 1.
Mr Price says he plans to have a moment’s silence at home to remember his father-in-law, who served in World War 1.
Mr Thompson also encourages local families to take a moment on Anzac Day to remember their own family members who served in overseas conflicts.
People can even post a tribute or images on social media.
“That would be excellent if they did,” Mr Thompson says.
“It’s sad that we can’t mark Anzac Day as a community. The young people are just so good to us on the day and we spend a lot of time visiting the schools, and I know they were gearing up for Anzac Day.
“We know Anzac Day is a day for the veterans, but it’s also a day for the public and the young ones are really good at supporting it,” he says.
Both RSAs are continuing to do what they can to support veterans and their families through the lockdown, including delivering food parcels to those in need.
“At this stage we can still do our bit. We have a little bit in our reserves. We try to deliver food parcels to veterans who need support and when winter comes we deliver firewood,” Mr Thompson says.
“We have a transport service with a lot of hospital runs and doctors visits and things like that, but we’ve had to suspend that, which is a bit disappointing for people.”
Mr Price says the community has been through difficult times before and we can get through the latest challenge.