While most Canadians know the significance of wearing a poppy to honour veterans during the lead-up to Remembrance Day, they may not realize there is, in fact, an appropriate way to wear the pin.

According to the Royal Canadian Legion, the bright red poppy is worn every year to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers.

“Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear the legion’s lapel poppy each November, the little red flower has never died, and the memories of those who fell in battle remain strong,” the organization says on its website.

While the legion provides a “poppy protocol” to guide Canadians on the “appropriate” and “respectful” wearing of the pin, the organization says it’s a personal expression of remembrance and always an individual choice.

Where to obtain a poppy

In the days leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, Canadians can obtain a poppy from their local legion branches or from one of the many volunteers who distribute the pins at schools, local businesses, community organizations, and transit stops.

Canadians living abroad can get a poppy a Royal Canadian Legion Branches in the U.S., Mexico, Germany, and the Netherlands, or at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.

While the poppies are freely available to anyone, donations are welcome.

How to wear a poppy

The legion recommends pinning the poppy on the left lapel or left side of a shirt, over the heart. The poppy should not be affixed with any other pin that obstructs it.

If the thin pin that comes with the poppy is cumbersome to use, the legion said reusable black pins that go in the centre of the flower and appear to be more secure are available at some of their branches.

When to wear a poppy

The lapel poppy should be worn from the last Friday in October until Nov. 11, according to the legion. The pins can also be worn during veterans’ funerals and other commemorative events, such as a memorial or anniversary of a military battle.

How to remove a poppy

A poppy should be removed by the end of the day on Nov. 11. The legion said some people choose to remove the pin in the evening following a Remembrance Day ceremony while others choose to take it off at the conclusion of the ceremony and place it on a cenotaph or wreath as a sign of respect.

“This has become a poignant tradition each year at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa as thousands of Poppies are placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,” the organization says.

After the poppy is removed, the legion said it should be stored “appropriately” or “disposed of respectfully.”

“We encourage anyone who finds a poppy that has fallen to the ground to pick it up and brush it off so that it can be kept or disposed of respectfully,” the legion says.