The Poppy Belongs to Everyone: During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, the British Army was struggling due to a shortage of soldiers available to serve. As a result, they recruited thousands of Sikh soldiers from Punjab. The enlisted Sikh soldiers travelled from Europe to Singapore and Hong Kong, defending the Union Jack. They provided protection and guarded the Canadian line in the Battle of Ypres in Flanders Fields. In addition to this, the soldiers also fought alongside the Canadian Army in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Thousands of courageous Sikh soldiers, including some of my relatives, lost their lives in combat for the British Army.
During this time of remembrance, it is important to acknowledge all the fallen soldiers who fought for freedom. I take time to remember those who lack recognition for their service. Many Canadian history books do not include the stories of the Sikh soldiers from Punjab. In the future, I hope that authors could rewrite textbooks and historical literature, so that is it more inclusive. This step will allow future generations the opportunity to learn history in a balanced way. The Poppy belongs to many people, including those whose photos and stories do not make it to national media.
~ Gurdeep Pandher