Put the poppy debate to rest

The white poppy campaign has received much attention in the lead up to Remembrance Day, as supporters of the white poppy stress the rethinking of warfare.  The idea of a pacifistic alternative poppy is not new, and dates back to 1926 in England.

It took the form of a small emblem that was placed in the middle of a red poppy. It was never meant to dismiss the importance of the red poppy or remembrance.  The white poppy is a symbol of peace and the red poppy a symbol of remembrance. Neither is in support of war or acts committed in war.

The battle over white and red poppies is trivial in comparison to actual warfare and the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life. We should be focused on remembering the fallen and forget about the debate over poppies, which is offensively ignorant to the current needs of veterans and to the sacrifices they have made.

There is an importance for all to reflect on war and the sacrifice put forth by both our veterans and currently enlisted military personnel. However, reflection should be left up to the individual. Nobody should be forced into reflecting on war in any particular way or the meaning of self-reflection is lost entirely. It does not matter how you reflect but you should be doing so respectfully, no matter your personal views on war, government or the military.

We can commemorate those who lost their lives fighting for their country without supporting war or even supporting the ideals behind them. Critically looking at the past is a valuable tool for avoiding repeated mistakes in the future. But remembering the fallen and the impact of war is an important part of the deterrence towards entering any war in the future.

Many veterans, understandably so, are offended by people finding a problem with remembering the fallen. The red poppy was never meant to rally support for war; it was always about commemoration.

Let’s put the debate to rest. Wear whatever poppy you want and shut up about it. Remember, Remembrance Day isn’t about a right or left wing agenda. The rest of the year can be used  to debate politics, so let’s give this one day to those who died for this country. To support veterans, quit bickering and donate to veterans causes, lobby the government for improved veterans services or learn from first-hand experiences of war.

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