11th November 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War One. In 1921, poppies began being worn as a symbol of remembrance of those who fought in war. I wear, as I always have, my red poppy during each season of remembrance. The reason I wear it is just that, to remember those who have fought in war, those that have died and those that have been injured.
Never have I identified the red poppy as anything other than a symbol of remembrance. I certainly don’t consider it a political symbol or a celebration of war. So why do people wear white poppies?
The White Poppy
I have learned that the white poppy was introduced back in 1933 (just 12 years after the red version). It also serves as a symbol of remembrance of the victims or war. But, the Peace Pledge Union says that the white poppy also represents a lasting commitment to peace and the belief that war should not be celebrated or glamorised.
This is where I struggle with what they say about the white poppy. By stating that “war should not be celebrated or glamorised” they seem to be somehow inferring that red poppies do celebrate or glamorise war. What an utterly ridiculous notion.
Are white poppies are attention seeking rubbish?
But, was Johnny Mercer MP right to call white poppies “attention seeking rubbish”?
White poppies are attention seeking rubbish. Ignore the wearers of them. If you don’t want to wear a poppy don’t bother; they fought and died so you could choose. But don’t deliberately try and hijack it’s symbolism for your own ends. Well done @BrianWoodMC https://t.co/HRK3wW3qY5
— Johnny Mercer MP (@JohnnyMercerUK) October 22, 2018
No, he wasn’t. People are free to express themselves however they wish. However, those that I am remembering when I wear my red poppy fought so our generation have these choices. We are here and we are free to make choices because of those brave men and women.
But I also don’t agree with Veterans such as Harry Leslie Smith either:
I am against wearing of the poppy b/c it has been co-opted by politicians to justified our present wars on terror that are eroding democracy
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) November 2, 2014
I might not agree with the white poppy, but I certainly wouldn’t attack those that choose to wear one.
Wearing my red poppy
I will continue to wear a red poppy with pride. During this period I will remember those that gave their lives so we are free to live ours. I won’t remember war as anything glorious or something to be celebrated.
The only grandad I knew served and survived the Second World War, I had an uncle who was killed in the Second World War before my Dad (his brother) was even born, I have school friends who served in Iraq and Afganistan, and at home we have 3 WW1 medals awarded to Helen’s great-grandad. I wear my poppy to remember those people.
Thanks for reading