NOVEMBER 17, 2010 5:26PM

This Is How We Catch The Torch?

Rate: 23 Flag

      I'm so angry I could spit.

      As some of you know, I'm something of a military history maven, particularly Canadian military history, and a supporter of the good works of the Royal Canadian Legion and our service men and women, especially those of the world wars and Korea.

      Also, as some of you know, I'm a former reporter/photographer and reluctant newspaper editor. I am still on e-mailout lists for some police forces, and I read the daily releases with a professional and usually detached interest.

      It was with dismay, then, that I saw the most recent blotter update from one department that said a man and a woman stole poppy collection boxes from two area businesses. They entered and exchanged empty boxes for ones containing donations. To make matters worse, they did it on Nov. 11 – Remembrance Day.

      For those unaware of the poppy drive, it's an annual fundraising tradition dating back to just after the First World War. Although the symbol of the poppy dates to the wars of Napoleonic era, it was an American woman named Moina Michael who first started wearing one in New York in 1918 after reading Lt.-Col. John McCrae's “In Flanders Fields”. A visiting Frenchwoman, a Mme Guerin, took the idea back home with her in 1920, and from there it grew.

      Canada's Great War Association – the predecessor to the Legion – started it here in 1922. Production of the bright red imitation poppies, with their black centre pierced by a pin, was a way for disabled veterans to earn a little income, and the drive has been going strong ever since.

      Boxes are put in local businesses and those wishing to donate – it doesn't matter how much – take a poppy to wear on the left breast lapel over the heart. After the Remembrance Day ceremony on Parliament Hill at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, thousands of spectators leave theirs to blanket the Tomb of the Unknown, a tradition that started a few years ago. I always leave mine pinned to one of the wreaths at our local Cenotaph.

      Money collected from the drive is used to further the work of the Legion, whether it's helping aging veterans or teaching youngsters about our history or collating material for remembrance or whatever. The theft of that money was a dastardly, cowardly, despicable deed. And no, I don't want to hear about how they were probably stealing to buy food. I've heard that excuse before.

      The worst of me hopes that this man and woman, whoever they are, are caught and turned over to our remaining Second War vets for about half an hour before they're formally arraigned. That'll be me, on the sidelines, cheering.

(Some of this information came from the Royal Canadian Legion website. For more information, click here.)

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I doubt these deadbeat thieves were hungry for anything more than some dope or a beer. Homeless people and even beggars have more respect for the military than most people who not only doesn't steal it, but look the other way instead of putting their change in it. I've seen the same thing with boxes of change for a kid with cancer or some other debilitating disease. Boaner, they will get theirs, sooner or later my friend!
I'll hunt them down. That is low. They had a guy in St.Louis who bought a wheelchair (stole it) and was sitting outside of a supermarket with a sign for paralyzed Veterans collecting money till someone recognized him and called police. He wasn't even a Veteran and wasn't paralyzed when he ran. Hopefully they catch them but I wouldn't bet money on it. Have you been nice to your wife today, mine is still smiling for some reason. o/e
I cried when i wrote this as this is near and dear to my heart..:(
Give em hell
Rated with hugs
No kidding, Sheila. It's not the first time it's happened, either.

Scanner, that would be my bet, too -- booze, dope, whatever. It makes me crazy, the lack of respect.

O/E, I'll help in the hunt. That guy in St. Louis ... did they catch him? And, yeah, there's been a certain smug, enigmatic grin around here this afternoon. I'm worried. Got your kit bag packed?

Yeah, I know it is near to you, Linda, and I remember why.
I remember the poppies and the boxes from my days in Canada.

Ain't no telling if it was bums stealing it or kids acting on dares Boan.
Someone needs to attend to their morals.
Sadly, this doesn't surprise me in the least. In this country during the Christmas season, the Salvation Army has "Bell Ringers" who take up collection for needy children and every year, somewhere, a bell ringer is robbed of money they stood out in the cold all day to collect. The sleaze factor in this world no longer shocks me.
Despicable. Whatever happens to them here and now, just think of karma and you'll probably feel better.
Nope, Veronica, I'm strictly an amateur who's written evil scads of stories over the decades about veterans, battles and wars.

Mission, they weren't kids, more's the pity. The police report said they were 25 to 30. But you're right about the morals ... or lack thereof.

I hear you, Torman, but it still really, really makes me angry, whether it's the SallyAnn or the disabled kids or the Legion. And just when I thought I used up my capacity for outrage....

Alysa, despicable is just the right word. As for the karma, I'd be glad to help it along....
No bag but maybe we ought to tell Scanner to be on guard. There happy so let it be. Yes they caught the sleezebag and the Veteran Policeman wasn't nice about tackling him and hauling him away.
A man and a woman no less. Christ, I thought you were going to say it was some hooligan kids. May they pay for this in ways they never dreamed of.
The evil that men do never ceases to amaze me......too sad. r
Below low life, this is. Wish all Karma was instant.
Nasty, but at least it wasn't armed robbery.
I hope that Bonnie and Clyde get caught and are turned over to our remaining war veterans. Shame on them for what they have done ! Thank you, for the link.
I'm really sorry to see the disrespect is on your side of the border too...seems heartlessness has gone viral. Thanks for the report, though would rather it was something less angering for us.
Thieve suck generally, but those two have taken it to the next level. Here's hoping karma catches up with them, and soon.
Something is broken in such a person.
O/E, good. I hope it was one of the tackles that'd draw a fine in the NFL. Just sayin'....

Yeah, Trudge. Sad it is.

SS, couple of years ago, I confronted a couple of pukes who were tossing stones around and at the Cenotaph here. Let's just say, I doubt they did it again. That adults would do something like this is abhorrent. It's a desecration.

Yeah, LC, it is appalling. Jag-offs.

Sky, I know you get it too.

Yeah, Rosy ... but I know you know no one's going to say about them that the good was oft enterred with their bones. They're swine.

Spud, if I'd been there, and knew what was going on, I promise you, it'd have been instant Karma. I'm bemused, though, how they got the empty donation boxes to exchange. Maybe that'll come out in the investigation.

John, yeah, it's more like The Grifters or something than anything else.

Fusun, I'd like to see that happen, I really would. Shame, indeed.

JB, yes, I'm appalled. More than I can say in polite company.

Buffy, the beat goes on. I know you feel it too, for vets like your Dad and mine.

Nana, karma won't stand a chance if some of the guys I know (and maybe me and O/E) catch up with them. It would be ugly, maybe. But appropriate.

Scupper, you're right. Something inside of them is broken -- or never completed. I personally can't fathom it.
Jayzus. Is nothing sacred anymore? (don't answer that, I can't bear the thought)
"As you have done to the least of these, so even have you done unto me."
Wearing a poppy with pride has been a tradition in England well supported and respected by most. Some of the headlines here this year as to the actions of others were just sick and frightening to be honest.

It's so sad the depths some will sink to for their own gain. I too hope the thieves are caught and duly punished.

We should and hopefully never forget...
You're right, Gabby.

Yes, that's very appropriate, Tom.

Semper memento, Linda. I'm sorry things aren't going well over there, either. Some things are just meant to be, well, sacred.
Out here in the sticks the Poppy is still a popular symbol of remembrance, as Torman can likely confirm. What goes through the minds of people who can rob those who are not there to defend themselves? That can forget the humanity involved, the suffering of so many, the pain of those families that can still find a link to what the horrors of the first world war unleashed on them?

We see kids today and adults as well who live in the world that they see and hear of from implication and sensationalism. They have no connection to that time they see it as an image and they know from experience that images are false. We have "charities" that pay their boards and employees the vast majority of donations, we read and see on television the scandals that embezzling of those donations bring. They can't respect something that the world has spent most of their lives implying were never the way the history books portrayed it.

Maybe a fitting punishment would be two years interring the remains of fallen soldiers, or in the case of the St. Louis thief, five years of personal care to paralyzed veterans.
Ya know, Bobbot, that kind of sentence makes a great deal of sense to me in both cases. (Although that mean core of me would still like to see some curbside justice administered.)

And, yes, the continuing debasement of what's right and moral and just, whether it's government or charities or anything else continues to appall me.
I think it's a good thing that we're always surprised when people do such despicable things, even with all the evidence of what people are capable of. Let's hope karma exists.
We have a poppy day too. The DAV sells them and I usually get a few to pass around.

This is the most scumbag thing that people can do, and I hope that they are caught and have the book thrown at them.
Yeah, BV, no matter how often I encounter this kind of thing, it still makes my blood boil. Especially where vets are concerned.

Xenon, I'm sure the coppers will put out another news release if they catch these cretins. If so, I'll update this along with what charges they face.
I guess nothing shocks me anymore. I must be really jaded!
It's hard sometimes to keep some sense of equilibrium, KK. And I'd *never* think of you as jaded.