#PoppyProud campaign spreads Remembrance Day message to youth
Published Saturday, November 8, 2014 8:04PM EST
A Montreal college student is using selfies and social media to push the importance of poppies with the younger generation.
Dawson College student Adam Luxenberg is promoting the hashtag “#PoppyProud” to encourage young people to participate in the Remembrance Day tradition on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Together with the Royal Montreal Regiment, Luxenberg is asking people who buy poppies to snap a selfie and post it on social media using the hashtag.
Luxenberg says the use of social media is one of the best methods to get young people to understand and participate in the decades-old tradition of wearing a poppy to honour those who sacrificed for their country.
“It’s one of the only ways that we can actually reach out to young people in our society,” Luxenberg told CTV Montreal on Saturday. “It’s either by texting or by social media.”
Three of Luxenberg’s uncles served in the Second World War, so #PoppyProud means something special to him. “I feel a big personal connection,” Luxenberg said.
He adds that the poppies are important because they honour both past and current generations of the Canadian military.
Royal Montreal Regiment veteran Les Newman says Luxenberg’s social media-savvy approach is already paying off with the younger generation of Canadian citizens.
“I’ve had 12, 14-year olds come up this year like they haven’t before,” Newman said. “It’s nice to see the young people.”
Dawson college student Steve Postigo says #PoppyProud is a great way to spread the message online. “The fact that it’s online has more people aware. Even at school, today I saw a lot of people wearing the poppies,” Postigo said.
The hashtag has already been circulating online for a few years, but Luxenberg started campaigning for it shortly before Halloween, working mostly with a handful of veterans at a local mall to promote the hashtag message. He says the campaign’s growth has been “unbelievable,” buoyed in part by a surge in pro-military sentiment across the country.“We’ve gone national,” he said.
Poppy sales have shot up across the country this year. The Royal Canadian Legion reported a record number of poppy donations as of Friday, with more than 19 million poppies sold in the final days leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. The organization says that’s a full 1 million more than it sold in 2013.
The sacrifices of military personnel, past and present, have been top-of-mind in recent weeks, due in part to the deaths of two Canadian soldiers in separate attacks by homegrown radicals in mid-October.
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was struck and killed in a vehicular attack outside a military building in Quebec on Oct. 20. Two days later, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot dead by a lone gunman at the Ottawa National War Memorial during an attack on Parliament Hill.