Friday, November 10, 2006
Lest we forget.
Ekklesia ,a group i only heard of recently says that the white poppy has a universalism which the red one lacks for some people – it is not used in Germany, and it is not understood by many Muslims, for example. The problem of war, the think tank says, is now a global issue and needs to be symbolised in that way - recognising also the suffering of civilians and the work of nonviolent peacemakers.
Looks like the beginning of the end for a 85 year old tradition of wearing the Red Poppy to honour those that fought to preserve our freedom. White poppies have existed as a secular, pacifist alternative symbol since 1933 some say. I never heard of that until i googled a few results today. That's just fine i say,let those who want to wear one do so! I'll wear the red one that symbolizes Flanders Fields. Going to elementary school in Port Aux Basques,NL in the early sixties we came to know that the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month was a special time set aside to remember those that died so we could be educated there. Our teachers taught us the way their teachers taught them. We came to know of a Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)who probably wrote the most memorable war poem ever written. We recited the words and came to know the meaning well. At our school assembly we saw the veterans of several world wars and back at class i remember my teacher Ann Gillam tell us why the old veterans hands shook when he sat there with his old uniform on and red poppy in his lapel. As i progressed through school the old men from the great war who sat in chairs trembling at our rememberance day assemblies gradually grew smaller in numbers. I'll remember them through the Red Poppy and the Ekklesia think tank can go about their business promoting the white ones. They can do that because those old men with trembling hands gave them the freedom and right to do so.