11/06/2011 09:05 EST | Updated 01/06/2012 05:12 EST

An Open Letter to the Poppy Box Thieves

I assume that you aren't fully aware of the significance of the poppy, so I wrote this in hopes that you'll read it and do the right thing.


Dear Guy Who Stole a Poppy Box from Pizza Nova on Monday and Guy Who Stole Two Poppy Boxes from Tim Hortons on Wednesday:

I assume, based on your actions, that you aren't fully aware of the significance of the poppy, so I wrote this so that I might provide you with some background information in hopes that this letter might be circulated and you'll read it and see fit to do the right thing.

Indeed, I've got to assume you're merely ignorant of the poppy's significance, because if I think about the possibility that you were aware of this, I get far too angry to think rationally.

Here in Canada, we wear a poppy around Remembrance Day to show our support for the country's veterans. The poppies are sold all over the country and generally people drop a dollar or two in that box you took so that they may take a poppy to pin it to the lapel of their coat.

I'll also assume you don't realize that the poppy campaign has been going on here in Canada since 1921, and that the wearing of a poppy to commemorate those killed in war has a history going back to the 19th century, long before Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae penned "In Flanders Fields."

It's likewise probably fair to assume that neither of you are aware that these boxes on the counters of stores like the pizza and coffee shops are provided by The Royal Canadian Legion, and that the money raised from these poppies helps the Legion care for veterans and their dependents. In fact, the money raised from the annual poppy campaign is the major source of funding for the Legion and it goes toward ensuring that people who have fought for our country receive the supports they need and are treated with the respect they deserve.

Given the cause that these poppies support, I've got to assume you had no idea what you were up to.

As I've said, the alternative is virtually unthinkable.

What I mean is that, I've got to assume you didn't know any of that because, of course, if you did know that, then stealing a handful of change almost literally from the pockets of people that fought for and/or died fighting for this country would make you both despicable human beings and horrible, disrespectful, ungrateful people.

And I'll also assume that, if perchance you read this letter and thus now know the significance of your actions, you would do the right thing as soon as possible and turn yourselves in.

Otherwise, I'm not sure how you'll be able to sleep at night.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.