Friday, 11 November 2011

Why I Choose To Wear My Poppy With Pride

Thanks by Way Ahead Photography
Thanks, a photo by Way Ahead Photography on Flickr.

For many years now remembering Armistice Day has been under attack from many sides.

Some people don't like it because they believe it glorifies war. If they can explain to me how remembering one of the most pointless and futile wars ever fought on this earth, and the countless number of men and women who have died then and since, every time just so somebody can stick a flag in a bit of ground or gain a few oil refineries, how THIS glorifies war, then I might conceed their point.

There are those who have made the poppy a political battlefront, who campaign for our RIGHTS to wear poppies, who pick a fight with a faceless man, who actually doesn't really seem to give a toss about a little red flower worn once a year. Meanwhile the press stir and muck rake, provoking people to say and post some truly stupid things...

Suddenly the poppy is less about a sad, solemn remembrance, it becomes about the individual validating their OWN lives, as if in some way it makes them as significant as those who died in those muddy fields just across the water, many years ago.

It really does not.

Me? I wear mine because I am a grandson, a son, and a father. And these simple facts mean that in the past, war has affected my family, in the present, it shapes the world I live in. And God forbid, in the future, my son, or his sons, might find themselves sitting on a frontline, afraid of dying, feeling alone and scared, whilst those that love him most, sit at home waiting for terrible news to come.

I wear a poppy because I identify with my fellow man; I am sad that so many brilliant men died for NOTHING, whilst simultaneously appreciating in a way words cannot express that these same men BELIEVED they were giving their lives for a greater world, and were willing to do so - and perhaps ultimately and most selfishly, because I realise that there but for the Grace of God, go I, and those I love most.

Perhaps that's why people are really so opposed to this small symbol - because it reminds us all that life is cruel, and that death, in some shape or form is inevitable. And possibly a very untimely and unpleasant one...

But that's no excuse not to wear a small red flower once a year, and say thank you, we will remember.

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