This is a very moving and poignant picture of the first National Silver Cross mother the late”Mrs Charlotte Susan Wood. In the photo she is saluting whilst wearing on her right side, her late sons medals. She wears them in memory, and with pride and respect for the bravery and ultimate sacrifice of her fallen sons. It became a common practice shortly after the First World War for mothers and widows to wear their late sons/husband medals on the right breast. They did so at ceremonies all cross the nation as cenotaphs were raised in cities towns and villages to the memories of the fallen in the Great War. Today this practice continues throughout most Commonwealth Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. However if the late Mrs Charlotte Susan Wood were alive today and wore her sons medals here in Canada, she would be subject to arrest and prosecution. She would be breaking the law of the land! A law that the Royal Canadian Legion maintains is necessary to protect the veterans medals. Hard to understand how this serves to protect medals. It is equally difficult to find a legion member who can explain why they feel this law is necessary. I have received many terse and sometimes rude responses from those who cling to the need for this law. A particularly popular reason I have been offered several times is because of the imposter Army Sergeant who appeared at last years Ottawa Remembrance Day Ceremony. Hardly a reasonable or even a good excuse for the law. Indeed the imposter would have been charged under an entirely different law. Besides which, this is an unfortunate part of human nature and will no doubt continue to occur regardless of any law.
This is a response to a question posed to the Dept of Justice.
Question— Can I wear my relative’s medals?
Medals may only be worn by the veteran. This is considered of such high importance that it is a criminal offense to wear military medals that someone else has earned.
THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION.
‘The official rules for wearing medals The medals awarded to a deceased Service/ex-Service person may be worn on the right breast by a near relative (mother, father, sister, brother, wife, husband, daughter and son). Not more than one group should be worn by any individual’. No action will be taken officially if anyone wears a relations medals.
I would really appreciate if someone in authority within the Royal Canadian Legion could give me a clear and concise reason why the Legion supports and feels this Canadian Law is necessary. If a good and sensible reason is not forthcoming then surely the Legion should move to have the law changed.
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