Each November, leading up to Remembrance Day on November 11, red poppies are worn in honour of those who have sacrificed so that we can be free, and to raise funds in support of veterans from all wars and defence forces. 

Poppies were highlighted in the famous poem, In Flanders Fields, written on the 3rd of May 1915, by John McCrae, a soldier-poet-physician who came from Guelph. The City of Guelph feels a particular attachment to the poem and to the commemorative red poppies worn each November.  

On the 100th anniversary of this poem being written, on May 3rd, 2015, a beautiful, larger-than-life bronze statue was unveiled in Ottawa depicting John McCrae writing the poem on the battlefield. He was moved to do so after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier who had been killed in the Second Battle of Ypres (Belgium).

A similar statue was later installed in Guelph outside the Guelph Civic Museum, looking out over the city at the top of Macdonell Street. Our dear departed Rotarian friend and WWII veteran, Dr. Bill Winegard, was the instigator and lead fundraiser behind both statues.

When next you visit the John McCrae statue in Guelph, pause and reflect for a moment, and maybe touch his hand in gratitude.