Someone suggested to me that they were opposed to the concept of wearing poppies. That particular person felt that it was a symbolic gesture that had lost its significance. And, perhaps, for many people it has. The further we are removed from something the tougher it is to take note, to remember. I would suggest that is a sad commentary on society. We have so much to be thankful for, particularly as it concerns our freedom from dictators, tyranny, and civil unrest. Perhaps we take too much for granted. It was also suggested that wearing a poppy was a cop out. Meaning that we put one on, for this one day of the year, just because it is expected of us. We show the world we are “with it”. But are we really?
Some years ago, shortly after the war in Afghanistan began, I put a magnetic decal on my car. You know the one that says `support our troops”? I got quite the tongue lashing from one individual who accused me of supporting the Conservative government, supporting everything that the Conservative government stood for. I stopped him. I could have argued with him that it was actually the Liberals that sent our troops to Afghanistan but I refrained. I said he was being somewhat hasty in his judgement of me. I suggested to him that supporting our troops did not mean that I was supporting what they were doing. Did not mean that I was in agreement with the conflict happening in Afghanistan nor what had perpetuated that particular conflict. As I heard yesterday, the soldier’s duty is not to reason why, it is to do or die. I was making a point of being cognizant of the dangers our troops were facing. The decal on my car was a daily reminder of what was happening in other parts of the world.
I read an interesting article this weekend where the author informed his readers that he was a pacifist but still wore a poppy. In his words, “I wear (a poppy) as a sign of respect for the many men and women who sacrificed years, youth and their lives during this country’s wars”. And we need to respect those that fought for our freedoms. Our rights.
This should not be a debate about whether wars should be fought. About the “what ifs” had there had not been the efforts to stop Hitler. Not about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Not about the many other excuses there have been to defend our rights. Some valid, some not so much. As a mediator I have a firm belief that conflict can be solved without violence. (I am trying to imagine what it would have been like to mediate between Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt) Some may call me naïve.
Rather it is a time to reflect on what we enjoy today. Reflect on the price that was paid. The young lives that were sacrificed. The hardships created by war. Reflect on many of the conflicts that are still happening today. Soldiers that have been deployed. Perhaps there are better ways to resolve conflict, to find peaceful solutions. It is our duty to remember . And ultimately do our part for peace. We must wear poppies, lest we forget. Make it a good one.