"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row"
These are the opening lines from the famous 1915 poem by Canadian doctor John McCrae that was written in the second week of fighting during the Second Battle of Ypres. It was the death of his friend that became the inspiration for his poem. He was seen writing the poem as he sat on the rear step of an ambulance while looking at his friend`s grave and the vivid red poppies that were springing up amongst the graves in the burial ground. The poem`s reference to the red poppies that grew over the graves of the fallen resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world`s most recognised symbols for men and women who have died in conflict.
On Saturday 2nd and 9th November cadets from 425 (Aldridge) Squadron RAF Air Cadets joined forces with the Aldridge Branch of the Royal British Legion to support their Poppy Appeal on Morrisions` in Aldridge. "I gave my time to help raise money for the Royal British Legion" said Sergeant Ian Sweet "because it is a great charity that cares for our veterans who served for us and our country in order for us to be safe and secure". Sergeant Sweet previously served in the Royal Air Force and served on 3 tours of Iraq. "I have veterans in my family" he said "and I have served with many veterans and the Royal British Legion has helped some of these in their hour of need".
Last year the cadets also supported the Aldridge Branch of the Royal British Legion and showed their fundraising skills by helping to improve on it`s previous total. "Last year`s Aldridge area Poppy Appeal" explained Harry Fry, Poppy Appeal Co-Ordinator, "final total reached £44,824.99 beating the previous year`s total of £35,435. It`s a fantastic achievement and the public in the Aldridge area are generous. Thank you to everyone in Aldridge who support the Poppy Appeal".
The Royal British Legion is the UK`s leading Armed Forces charity. "We ensure", said Harry Fry "that Remembrance is kept alive and that the sacrifices our brave service men and women have made are never forgotten". According to Harry the Legion is not just about those who fought in the world wars of the last century but also about those involved in the many conflicts since 1945 and those still fighting for the freedom we enjoy today.
The cadets of 425 (Aldridge) Squadron RAF Air Cadets are keen to explain why they have given up their Saturdays to support the Poppy Appeal. "I am here" explained Cadet Emmerson "because it is the right thing to do to give back to those who gave up so much for us". Another one of the cadets is also in agreement as he collects donations from the generous Morrisons` shoppers. "I gave up my Saturday" said Cadet Follows "because it helps the community remember those who fought so we can be here today. They should not be forgotten".
Founded in 1921 the Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces - past and present - plus their families. The Legion is also the National Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the military covenant between the nation and the Armed Forces. The last word must belong to the amazing young people of Walsall who are members of 425 (Aldridge) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.
""I enjoy volunteering" said Cadet Hill. "What I love about the Air Cadets is that it supports the local community. This is important to me. The Poppy Appeal is a really good cause and we must remember our veterans so that they are never forgotten".
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