Our members are the lifeblood of The Royal Canadian Legion. Without their support, we could not do all we do to honour, support and remember Canada’s Veterans and their families. This past year, we invited Legion members to share with us why they joined the Legion. Submissions came in from across the country with stories of giving back to those who served, of honouring family members, and of supporting their branches and communities.
We were touched by the entries, including many from our Veteran members. Their stories highlighted the deep respect and support for Canada’s Veterans across the organization, shared the sense of community and comradeship in the Branches, and offered a glimpse into some of the amazing ways our members make a difference every day.
Check out the stories below of members describing in their own words why they chose to support The Royal Canadian Legion.
Do you have a story to share? Join the conversation on social media about why you joined the Legion using #MyLegion or by submitting a story on our website: legion.ca/ijoined
"I was medically released in 2015, due to a back injury and just 6 months after my release I was diagnosed with PTSD. The loss of my career, my future and my friends and entire support structure caused me to spiral year after year. Despite graduating from Lethbridge College, I was still isolating myself and being crushed by my symptoms. That continued until Remembrance Day in 2018 when I started helping with the ceremony, wearing my Patricia association uniform. I would wear that until I joined the Coalhurst Legion branch #273.
I received a warm welcome by the veterans and civilian members and it felt like the home I was missing. It helped pull me out of my darkest symptoms, made me feel a part of the organization and family again.
On June 10th, 2019, I was honoured to be presented with the Sacrifice Medal at my legion, among comrades and fellow vets. It was an honour to be recognized for all the pain and suffering that I went through and continue to go through, living with my sacrifice every day.
This year is our election year and being a part of this legion branch and the great folks who are members have given me the courage to run for Sgt at Arms, and the Service Officer position so that I can continue my work of being a veterans advocate, help speak and raise the concerns of those who cannot.
The legion has helped me in my recovery and made me feel a part of something bigger than myself again, a chance to serve others...my oath to the nation or our brothers and sisters never ended when we took off our uniform, but the legion has given me the courage and voice to serve once again.
"I Joined in 1996 to be a part of remembrance. I had many relatives who all had served in both World Wars and Korea. I felt it was my responsibility to continue their memories somehow. I am currently serving and want to be the change and help to continue making the Legion relevant long into the future.
So it all started as an act of remembrance like many and now it’s more to create that space that serving RCMP and CAF members, veterans and their families can always turn to."
"I joined the Legion (Branch 212) on my return home to access a social circle and to find a place to belong within my new community. Helping to preserve the memory of those who sacrificed for their country has always been important to me, and joining the Legion has allowed me to be a part of their annual poppy campaign.
Joining the Legion did give me access to great social programs but it also gave me friendship, purpose, personal support and pride in being a Legion member."
"I joined the Legion because my late husband and I both served in the Second World War. We met in Halifax NS during the war and married in 1945. We have spent many years visiting schools and selling poppies during Remembrance Week.
My husband died in 2006, we had just celebrated our 60th wedding Anniversary, and although I will be celebrating my 97th birthday on Nov 12, 2019, I continue to participate in Remembrance activities.
I [layed] a wreath on behalf of Second World War women Veterans on Nov 11 this year here in Charlottetown PEI. I am a Lifetime Legion Member. I will never forget."
"I joined the Royal Canadian Legion as a way to say thank you to all the Veterans of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. It is because of their sacrifices that we live in the beautiful country that we do.
My son is a Soldier with the Canadian Armed Forces and they have and continue to look after him. So as a Mom, it’s the best way I feel that I can give back. I started 10 years ago and today I am very proud to say that I am the 1st Vice President of Nova Scotia/ Nunavut Legion Command.
All Veterans should be honoured every day, nobody has given more and asked for less. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do."
"I am a veteran, I too for years had no idea of the real support the Legion offers veterans and their families. I served about 25 years in the Canadian Armed Forces before I joined.
As social media grew and veteran outreach for support became more open, as an administrator of a Veteran Well Being Network, I quickly understood what the legion really did and stands for. No matter what the issue our veterans and their families face the RCL has a system in place to support them.
Benevolent funds, Homeless Veterans Funds, Bursaries and Legion Service Bureau soon became everyday resources we could point veterans to. I'm a veteran, I am a serving soldier and I'm a proud Legion member too.
I joined the Legion to ensure that we never forget the sacrifices for freedom, that continue to honour those that continue to serve and their families and that we have the same safety nets and resources in place for our future generations."
"I became a Legion member to advocate for veterans issues and hopefully prevent veterans from going through the frustrations I experienced when I released from the military and the years afterwards.
I am also a fourth-generation Legion veteran going back to my great grandfather, a First World War Veteran. Since I joined, I’ve managed to directly assist dozens and dozens of veterans and families with anything from claims at veterans affairs, the initial issue of medals or replacement medals, headstones on loved one's graves through the last post fund.
I have also successfully used poppy funds to pay rent, mortgages, and utilities when veterans were facing homelessness or eviction due to tough times.
We have directly provided food vouchers to stock their fridges when food was scarce, I recently helped a veteran through the leave the streets behind program after finding out a veteran was soon to be homeless through social media, we got her funds and secured her a new place to live.
I have helped veterans order and replace their service files and helped veterans receive their honourable release certificates for the first time and in some cases three decades later.
There are so many more stories but this is a highlight of what I have been able to accomplish through joining the legion as a younger veteran. It has been an honour and I look forward to many more years."
Growing up my mom was a Ladies Auxiliary (LA) member, she was always busy at the Legion. I remember Christmas parties, bazaars, parades, and many other activities. My father was a Second World War vet.
He landed on the shores of Normandy on D day. He passed away when I was 5. When my mother asked me to join in my 20's, I did. I did it in my father's memory but I also did it for her. It was something she believed in and her belief has rubbed off on me. My mother is still alive and is 95 years old and still a member. - Lynne Barron
"My Legion membership honours my family heritage. As seen in the photo, my father, Victor John Brazier, along with six brothers served and saw action in the Second World War, while his father, my grandfather, was a member of the 122nd (Muskoka) Battalion in the First World War. The town of Bracebridge, ON has acknowledged the Brazier family, which also included a seventh boy, employed in essential services during WWII, a younger daughter and mother Agnes Brazier by naming a playground in their honour."
A big thank you to all Legion members who make a difference in the lives of Veterans, their families and in communities every day. You can see more entries here: legion.ca/ijoined/submissions
Want to share your Legion membership story for a chance to win $1K to The Poppy Store? Submit your story here: legion.ca/ijoined
Not a Legion member? Sign up today! Anyone can join to honour and support our Veterans: legion.ca/join