Bringing the poppy home
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Bringing The Poppy Home. Making remembrance more than something we feel, but something we do. WO Groves Sgt Huizinga 18 Oct 13. “ A redefinition of what it means to be a veteran”. Project Background. During the last Remembrance Day parade of Operation ATHENA ,

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Bringing The Poppy Home

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Bringing The Poppy Home

Making remembrance more than something we feel, but something we do.

WO Groves

Sgt Huizinga

18 Oct 13

“ A redefinition of what it means to be a veteran”.

Project Background

During the last Remembrance Day parade of Operation ATHENA,

LGen Jonathan Vance, who served two tours in command of Joint Task Force Afghanistan and Task Force Kandahar, placed a poppy on each plaque of the Kandahar Airfield Memorial as Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay read the names of those who lost their lives in Afghanistan while serving under Canadian command.

In keeping with a tradition that began at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, soldiers attending this ceremony laid their poppies on the monument at the conclusion of the parade.


These poppies now reside at 21 ew regiment

The 2011 Remembrance Day ceremony in Kandahar was the last. After nearly a decade of combat, Canadians have largely pulled out, leaving about 1,000 personnel to aid in the training of Afghan soldiers and police. To mark the occasion, Defence Minister Peter MacKay joined the ceremony in Kandahar. "We have a solemn duty to remember those who served, especially those who have fallen in service to their country," he said in a statement. A cenotaph that has stood as a memorial to the 160 Canadians killed in Afghanistan was packed up and brought home, starting on Nov. 12. The poppies placed on the memorial were given to WO Renay Groves (21 EW Regiment, Kingston, ON).


A team has been assembled by WO Groves and Sgt Huizinga to design a memorial that will preserve and honour the memory of our fallen heroes.

The team will mount the poppies from the last Remembrance Day ceremony in Kandahar in such a way as to retain the solemnity and respect that each represents. As a team, we will decide where and how this memorial will be presented on Nov 11, 2013, and where it will make its permanent home.

While involved in this project our team will gain a deeper understanding of how our soldiers in Afghanistan made unthinkable sacrifices, witnessed unknowable horrors, and struggled against a threat so enormous as to be almost incomprehensible.

By involving the Royal Canadian Legion, we hope to offer an opportunity to our veterans to re-connect with Canadians. Our veterans will be able to participate in the repatriation of our fallen comrades, an observance not afforded to them in prior wars.


WO Renay Groves – OPI

Sgt Greg Huizinga – 2 IC

WO Chris Hiscock – Memorial Build IC

MCpl Russ Gray – Historical Writing

MCpl Ryan Kitchen – Fundraising

LS Greg Mackay – Graphics Coordinator

Cpl Dave Mercer – Memorial Build

Cpl Shawn Lawrence – Fundraising & Marketing

Sgt Karey Wood – Poppy Painting

Pte Joey Fleury – Facebook IC

WO Scot Spencer – PR & Memorial Build

Cpl Brad Pressling – Operational Support IC

Cpl Ryan Doell – Memorial Build

PO2 Geoff Whitten – Admin Director

Sgt Patrick Rule – OUTCAN Liaison

MCpl Christian Lachance – Technical Assistance

Mr. Phil Kitchen – Afghan Veteran

  • 202 WKSP, Montreal QC (Henrique Santana, Denis Belanger)

  • Eric Sheikh, DGLEPM, Senior Manager Heavy Armoured Vehicles (Leopard 1 Variants) TAL10S

  • MGen Vance

  • Davar Bronzing, Kevin Fredericks

  • Scott Ferris, Marketing Director, RCL

  • Andrea Siew, Dominion Command

  • Joe Bedard, Atkinson Home Building Center, Kingston ON



The Poppy Memorial will be designed in such a way as to be:


Uniquely Canadian

Connects with soldiers and veterans nationwide

The Poppy Memorial is intended to be unveiled in Kingston ON, on 25 Oct 2013 by HRH Princess Anne during her visit as part of Celebration 2013.

The intent after the unveiling is to participate in a variety of ceremonies and activities during Remembrance Week 2013 and on Remembrance Day.

The “permanent” home of The Poppy Memorial has yet to be determined.


18 Oct 13

The Poppy Team received the finished Poppy Memorial from 202 WKSP in Montreal during a formal transfer ceremony 17 Oct 13.

The Poppy Memorial is currently housed at 21 EW Regt in preparation for HRH’s visit and Remembrance Week activities (TBD).

Integration of the Canadian Flag from Afghanistan via shadow box ongoing.

A Briefing Note has been prepared for the CO to fwd to the 4 Div Comd and onwards to the Army Comd, a second BN has been prepared and sent to HRH’s staff.

HRH will participate in an unveiling ceremony on 25 Oct 13. She has been asked to affix a poppy on the Memorial in an act of remembrance and to honour our fallen.





The base is a trapezoid made of aluminum to support the memorial as a whole. Attached to this is a road-wheel from a battle-damaged Leopard tank.

The intermediate portion of the memorial consists of the engine vents (louvres) from the same tank constructed to form a circle supporting the upper portion of the memorial. At the top of the vents there is a brass band (one piece) with all of the names of the fallen soldiers engraved on it. Resting on top of this will be a battle-damaged hatch from the tank. The circular configuration signifies the role of our soldiers in protecting and surrounding our nation. The poppies (after bronzing and painting) will be attached to the road wheel, vents and hatch to represent how our soldiers protect and support our country (the Maple Leaf) and fight alongside their fire team partner. They will be mounted in a pseudo-random fashion, in such a way as to represent the randomness of each event and the randomness of death in war. The only stipulation is that no one poppy is completely covered by the rest. Also, this represents how no single sacrifice is greater than another.

The Maple Leaf itself will be mounted to a support roller from the tank, allowing it to rotate as needed. The Leaf has been cut from the back deck of the battle-damaged tank. It has been painted in such a way as to preserve the integrity of the battle-damage.


Rotating Maple Leaf


Size – Maple leaf approximately 3’ x 3’, Memorial approximately 75” tall

Weight – Total approximate weight ivo 425 lbs.

Maintain battle-damaged components in their original state as much as possible.

Coating to preserve the Memorial long-term.

Paint – same paint as utilized on our armoured vehicles in Afghanistan.


Poppies painted by veteran Sgt Karey Wood


30 May 13 – Select armour, develop design options

3 Jun 13 – Visit Dominion Command, finalize design, set dates for finished product

10 Jul 13 – Visit 202 WKSP to review the prototype

9 Sep 13 – All poppies bronzed and painted

Mid-Sep 13 – Visit 202 WKSP to view “final product”

17 Oct 13 – Receive finished Memorial from 202 WKSP

25 Oct 13 – Unveil during Princess Anne visit (confirmed)

4-10 Nov 13 – Remembrance Week, participate in various ceremonies (location TBC)

11 Nov 13 – Remembrance Day, participate in Remembrance Day ceremony (location TBC)

Lest we forget…

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