Friday, November 06, 2009

Do you wear a poppy and when?

I have been in on some interesting exchanges about the why and if of wearing a poppy. It seems that everyone on TV is now placed under huge pressure to wear a poppy, especially extra large ones for X-factor contestants, which turns them into a fashion accessory. And they seem to be coming in earlier and earlier, just like Easter eggs and Christmas decorations. I can't help thinking that this is a huge exercise in missing the point.

Don't get me wrong, I shall wear a (basic) poppy on Remembrance Sunday, not because other people want me to, but because I will be remembering a member of my family lost on the Somme in March 1918 and my own grandfather who lived through over two years' horror in the trenches. He survived and lived to an old age, but he lost many friends.

I'll also be aware of all the losses we have seen in recent years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although much smaller in number than the 'great' wars of the 20th century, we are made all the more aware by the intense media coverage of everyone whose life is lost.

And I'll also be thinking of 14 Nov, the anniversary of the bombing of Coventry in 1940. Having lived there, I realise that the experience still casts a shadow over the city, as it must in many other cities devastated by war. The symbolism of the ruined cathedral is, of course, particularly evocative. For Coventry, it has inspired people to reach out to other communities - hence it is twinned with Dresden.

Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day are there 'lest we forget' - lest we forget the death, losses, destruction, pain and grief of war, and lest we forget the need to work for peace and reconciliation in the future to try and avoid such things ever happening again.

Whether you choose to wear a poppy or not is a matter of choice; the important question is what kind of a world are you working for. The badge you wear is much less important than the commitments you keep to.

1 comment:

goodgirl said...

hey thanks for that i will tell that to my class and everyone will wear a poppy