Honouring those who fought for our country

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Hawke's Bay people will be invited to wear a poppy today, in what has almost become a day of celebration with hundreds of thousands of poppies distributed nationwide.

It will be the 90th anniversary Poppy Day, the start of the annual tribute to those taken fighting for their country and those who battled alongside them, and which ends with Anzac Day next Wednesday, commemorating the 97th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in WWI.

RSA members and volunteers will join forces with New Zealand Defence Force staff and many other organisations to collect on behalf of the RSA, to support the needs of ex-servicemen and servicewomen.

It's the RSA movement's most significant fundraiser, and $1.7million was raised last year, for local use according to where the money was donated.

RSA Chief Executive Stephen Clarke said the first Poppy Appeal was held in 1922 and since then the annual appeal had only grown.

Interest in commemorations has escalated in recent years with new generations appreciating more what forbears went through in service of their country.

Dr Clarke said the poppy reminds New Zealanders of sacrifices made - both past and present.

Poppies were the first flowers that grew in the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium during WWI and are a symbol of remembrance and hope. Poppy Day has been a part of the New Zealand calendar since 1922, making it one of the oldest nationwide appeals.

For more information on Poppy Day and Anzac Day, visit www.rsa.org.nz

- Hawkes Bay Today

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