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So… Here is why my poppy is white.

Remembrance Day is coming up, and in the UK that means poppies are everywhere.

Remembrance Day is marked in many countries on the Eleventh of November, what used to be called Armistice Day. This marks the end of World War One. At eleven o’clock, the exact time that the war ended, almost everybody around the UK takes part in a two-minute silence. This is to remember the soldiers lost in the war.

 

In the UK, during the lead up to Remembrance Day, many people wear poppies; that’s what I will talk about today.

The History of Poppies

Why the poppy?

As most people probably know, WWI was fought in trenches. The soldiers would jump up out of the trenches and then they would fight each other in the middle area between the two sides, known as No Man’s Land.

The No Man’s Land was so trodden and beaten after the war that nothing grew there. Nothing, that is, apart from the poppy. Years after that, people started wearing paper poppies, to remember the soldiers we lost in the war. This was inspired by a poem written by a Canadian Army doctor, In Flanders Fields.

The funds raised from selling these go to organizations supporting ex-soldiers, such as the Royal British Legion and the American Legion.

But, I don’t wear a red poppy: I wear a white one.

What does the white poppy mean?

The white poppy is about remembering everyone, soldiers, and civilians of all nationalities, who have been part of any war, past or present. Even those who resisted, and who didn’t fight. This in contrast to the red poppy, which is specifically intended to support and commemorate British soldiers.

 

And although these poppies are to remember the wars, in the very center of the poppy, it says the word: PEACE. This is to symbolize the fact that violence, fighting, and war are not the only way, that there are better ways to resolve conflicts.

Why some people object to the white poppy:

Many people object to the white poppy as the money raised does not go to support ex-service personnel. White poppies are distributed by the Peace Pledge Union; I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say and stand for, but you can find out more about them here.      

 

One point made by the PPU is that wearing a red poppy can suggest that you support not just soldiers, but the cause they fought for. Many people object to political decisions that promote or prolong warfare, such as the sales of arms.

 

I appreciate your read and I hope that you will consider wearing a white poppy this remembrance day.

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Alex Horsewell

Alex Horsewell

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