Something in my heart makes me refuse to wear a red poppy at this time of year. It could be a number of things and I hope to bring them to the surface through this blogpost. I should make it clear firstly that I am eternally grateful, as many others are for the sacrifices made by those in the armed forces who were brave enough and were prepared to give their lives to protect their country. This post is not a opportunity for me to “have a go at people who serve their country” it is a possibility to look at the options we have to honour and remember them in a different way.
From the BBC website, we can see the history of the wearing of the poppy and why it has become the way we honour the the sacrifices made in past wars. These scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers. Canadian surgeon John McCrae first mentioned the poppy in his poem In Flanders Fields in 1915 to and it since became a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen.
Its understood from the British Legion website that the money raised from the poppy appeal provides ways for commemorating those who are no longer with us and can provide for the families left behind when those who serve in the front line do not return. Very sad.
The main issues I have fall into the following:
- I do not believe war is a solution to a problem. What do we wear in memory of the innocent victims of war who have not chosen to join the armed forces?
- I do not think dressing war veterans up in their old clothes / badges / medals is the way to move forward to a peaceful world. In my opinion this glorifies war and if you keep looking into the past, your future will simply begin to look the same. We should learn and move on to a future that does not require ‘celebrating war’.
- I do not think we should label people in the armed forces as “Heroes”, they are no more heroic than doctors, nurses or fire fighters that risk their lives and the lives of others every single day.
- I do not think people in the media should be ‘forced’ to show respect by wearing a poppy, that simply devalues it to the level as a fashion accessory. Also another interesting article.