I was downtown Seattle yesterday, near the Pike Place Market. Things were starting to feel a little sketchy even though it was just mid afternoon.
I got called out for being Canadian by a couple panhandlers and a guy who wanted to sell me a CD. “Hey Canadian…. ” they said. “Give us your loonies or coloured money. I’ll take whatever.”
Later I was at the market and I was I stopped to look at some stuff and I am the guy asking what part Canada I was from. So I asked him “what’s the dead giveaway why does everybody know I’m Canadian?” He said because that poppy you’re wearing on your jacket.”
Ah… my lapel poppy. Frankly I didn’t see it as a “Canadian thing” until that moment. I saw it as a universal sign of respect for our veterans and soldiers. I couldn’t imagine not wearing the poppy at the beginning of November.
I asked the friendly clerk. “Should I take it off? Does it make me stick out like a target, a tourist?”
“No! No!” He says, “we like Canadians. You all are good.”
I will admit that there were a few minutes on my walk back to the hotel where I thought about taking off the poppy because I was feeling a little uncomfortable. But I surely didn’t take it off! War isn’t comfortable either. Our veterans and soldiers endured unspeakable horrors in defence of our country and freedoms. And therefore, I wear a poppy, because it’s November and I am Canadian. I frankly don’t see it as optional.