ACROSS the globe – from the Tower of London to rolls listing the fallen at the Australian War Memorial – poppies have been central to marking World War I.
The red flower from the fields of the Western Front has come to symbolise our reflection on the Great War.
Last year, a statewide ban on fundraising activities, applied by the RSL in response to the probe tied to rorting by its former NSW president Don Rowe, saw poppies unable to be sold for November 11 commemorations.
Now, the prohibition has been lifted but complications surrounding the distribution of the poppies has prompted Albury RSL sub-branch president Graham Docksey to opt not to sell them this year.
He had particular concerns about the sharing of the sales revenue, noting a previous agreement of it being divided between Albury and the Sydney head office had not been offered.
There was also difficulties with the timing of poppy deliveries.
In those circumstances it is reasonable for Mr Docksey to take a wait-and-see approach and seek a fairer deal for his sub-branch and in turn the veterans’ who benefit from the poppy income.
The saga surrounding the corrupt behaviour and the fallout has been severe not only at the upper ranks of the NSW RSL but at the sub-branch level.
The Albury operation is facing a $37,000 deficit, according to its latest budget.
In those circumstances, with all the wrongdoing having happened at the top levels of the welfare organisation, there should be moves by RSL head office to offer greater support to the grassroots.
Hopefully by Anzac Day, a deal can be done that allows a 50-50 share of revenue from poppies to headquarters and sub-branches.
In the meantime, at least there will be poppies being given away to those attending services in Albury on Sunday to mark the centenary of the World War I armistice.