I don’t wear a poppy. I’m going to shock you with that point before explaining exactly why I don’t wear a red poppy in the run up to Remembrance Sunday. I’m not disrespectful at all. My reasons have been thought out, and I will remain true to my convictions by not wearing one. And do you know what? It takes a lot of guts to be one of these people who don’t wear a poppy, especially in the circles I generally mix in (I go to church, I am a guide leader and I worked in a school for a very long time!). Even now I get some comments for my decision.
Here’s why I don’t wear a poppy:
- The British Legion have turned the poppy into a registered trademark. To me, this has taken something from the original message of the poppy, which was one of remembrance and of hope. By turning it into a trademark, I personally feel that it means it has become a business, and it seems too much at odds with what it should be.
- The British Legion have some rather dubious sponsors. They’ve taken plenty of cash from Lockheed Martin. If you weren’t aware this company actually manufacture weapons, the very ones that kill plenty of the soldiers that the British Legion is trying to remember. This company supplies to Saudi Arabia at the moment, a country with a pretty poor human rights record, and who are currently responsible for a pretty horrific campaign in the Yemen, that’s killed more than a few people (but we don’t hear much about on our media due to the political links we have with them….but that’s another story entirely!). I am VERY reluctant to give my money to anybody who associates with these sorts of people. And yes, I know it’s a very small amount of money but that is not the point.
- I’m a bit of a pacifist at heart. I fail to see how taking another life can ever solve a problem. As Gandhi once said ‘An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.’ Taking a life, even in war, only leads to heartache and grief, not two emotions I would want anybody to experience. Life is precious but to me it feels like war makes it seem almost insignificant. I don’t believe that the poppy glorifies war, or encourages it, but if there had been no war there would be no need for the poppy.
- The poppy doesn’t remember every victim of war. It serves to remember soldiers who have fallen in battle. However, in modern wars I would argue that significantly more civilians are killed than soldiers. Why aren’t these innocent victims worthy of being remembered?
- Why aren’t our government supporting the wounded soldiers? I know this final point is probably my most controversial. I know that my husband and I argue a lot over my views on this. However, I firmly believe that our government should be supporting the soldiers who return injured, and the families of those who fail to return. After all, they are their employers, and it is a result of their decisions and actions that these soldiers have been injured. And, every single soldier in modern Britain has signed up to the armed forces knowingly. Every single one of them made the decision to become a solider knowing that they may be called to serve in a war, and that this means they could lose their life. Nobody forces them to do it.
I am not disrespectful
I don’t wear a poppy to show my respect for the men who died in service of our country. My heart breaks when I think of all those young men who went off to war, often without a choice, who never returned home again. I think that their sacrifice deserves to be remembered. I believe that they deserve to be honoured, and their bravery should be applauded. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for them.
So there you are. I don’t wear a poppy. And yes, I understand if it changes your opinion of me. I would hope it doesn’t though.