White Poppy, Not with Pride.

I shall not be wearing my poppy with pride this week. It will be worn with a degree of solemnity, and anger.   And it shall be white.

The 11th hour of the 11th day, on the 11th month, will mark another anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War 1. This was a truly dreadful war, a war that should never have happened, that took the lives of millions, touching quite possibly every single family in Europe. When I see a poppy, I think of Flanders Field, or the Somme. Total slaughter, needless and disgusting. Born, not from the need to preserve freedom or country, but to preserve the wealth and power of the few.  Millions, mere pawns to be sacrificed.

We need to remember, so that we don’t fall for it again, and again, and again.

An example of concern amongst the wider public was shown by a letter in the Evesham Advertiser in November 1930, which responded to a remark by the Bishop of Durham that Armistice Day celebrations should cease: ‘…their main tendency is to perpetuate the war spirit, which ever renders the coming of permanent peace impossible. The establishment of this day and the erection of memorials was a grave error…for these have fastened the system of armed defence upon one and all firmer than ever; for right through Europe…the man who has borne arms is memorialised and praised as never before and what man praises today he will practise tomorrow so that to honour war is, of necessity, to ensure its coming in all its horrors…It is the living we should consider first; we should remember the young amongst us, whose bodies…will lie out upon the battlefields of Europe in ‘the next war’ which is said to be coming, and for which the Armistice Day celebrations and the memorials are simply paving the way. They are the sign and symbol that war shall be, and prevent altogether the dawning of that brighter and better day when war shall be no more.’Members of the 1929-31 Labour Government were also unhappy about the ceremony. Alfred Salter MP recalled in 1936: ‘I was Chairman of the Parliamentary Peace Committee, and took a deputation to see the then Minister of War. We asked him if he would exercise his influence…to turn the November 11 Armistice service into a peace and memorial service…His official adviser from the War Office jumped up and said, “Impossible! Unthinkable! It would be opposed by the highest authorities!…We get more recruits for the Army in the fortnight following the Armistice ceremony than in any other time of the year.”‘

In 1931, however, the Daily Herald headlined ‘The Empire’s Armistice Call: There shall be no more war’, and went on, ‘Never again! That will be the vow in every sane mind throughout the British Empire today.’ Hannen Swaffer asked: ‘Now that Economy has come, will they really cut down those health services…Why don’t we do something to stop the next war?’ Two years later the first recorded alternative wreath was laid at Cambridge War Memorial, by the Cambridge Student Anti-War Movement, with the inscription: ‘To the dead and wounded of all nations, victims of a war they did not make, from those who are determined to prevent all similar crimes of imperialism.’

Peace Out.
Get a white poppy, you know it makes sense.       

~ by blacksheepdiarist on November 7, 2006.

12 Responses to “White Poppy, Not with Pride.”

  1. Zeitgeist?
    You seem to have captured the mood of the day. The wearing of the white poppy made the morning news on radio 4’s Today programme (09/11/06), and as I would have expected, the presenters seemed to suggest that the red poppy was the ‘correct’ one to wear. It was interesting that the red poppy is seen as an obligation, that you are seen as ‘un-pc’ if you don’t have a red poppy. The white poppy is being advocated by a Christian group, that only Christ can offer redemption, and killing in war is not heroic. Several listeners sent in emails, and I’m sure this will be a hot topic on Saturday’s comment slot.
    It seems to me that there is a lot of ignorance about the meaning of the white poppy, and we need to go out there and educate the public. I am also wearing my white poppy, not with pride, but in sorrow, that after all this time we seemed to have learnt so little.
    “Never Again”
    love and peace

  2. Hey madbadhairday, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it seems the white poppy has become a wee bit more prevelant this year. Someone asked me to stop talking about poppies and war the other day, for the sake of a bit of peace and quiet! You couldn’t make it up! Love and peace to you too x John x

  3. […] buying a Red Poppy and wearing it ‘with pride’. Now, I know I have written about this before, but I feel the need to do so again, if only to put some flesh on the bones of my misgivings over […]

  4. You might like this link http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/early/poppy3_early_years.html

    How brave to stand up and break the silence at the Cenotaph, as one ex-serviceman did in 1937.

    I will also be wearing a white poppy, and explaining why to anyone who will listen.

    Love and peace, and anger too x

  5. I liked your ideas.

    there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers, that’why I will also be wearing a white poppy.
    Love and peace to you too.
    keep u your hard work!

  6. Hear! Hear! Good one. I’m with you. Just hoping to acquire a white poppy myself. Thanks for the perspective.


  7. postscript: I see you haven’t published for quite a while. I wish you would, at least, so that the number of significant sites do not diminish in relation to the self-absorbed.

  8. Why, thank you Ed. Your comment is much appreciated. Watch this space, I hope to re-engage with blogging very soon. Peace out.

  9. The wearing of a red poppy has been purely for remembrance for years. People try to change things just because they think its a good idea, they should just keep on thinking to themselves and not try to influence others. The red poppy does not glorify war, the people who do that are the media. Anyone who joins the forces these days, becomes an instant HERO without earning the name.

  10. the red poppy is worn to honour the lives lost in war and the sacrifice these soldiers did in laying down their lives so we could enjoy a better future free from tyranny.The poppy is not meant to glorify war but the Bravery of these soldiers.
    I don’t object to the white poppy ,but since it’s meant to denote a wish for peace then why not wear it all year round?and not just in response to the Red Poppy.

  11. Poppy-Day is a very good thing; it reminds us why we are alive to-day i.e.
    because of those brave soldiers who lost their lives in the most cruel way in the Wars past and present. White Poppies are also a very good thing as they mean PEACE everlasting.

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