With Halloween over and bonfire night celebrated, it is now time to pause and remember those who fought and those who sacrificed their lives for our way of life. We wear our poppies as a symbol of our own personal reflection of the sacrifice of young lives, for the families torn apart, for grieved mothers, for heartbroken fathers, for devastated spouses and the children left with the question ‘Why?’
I wear my poppy to remind myself of the horrors of war, I do not wear my poppy to celebrate war. I wear my poppy to acknowledge the women who scrounged out meals from meagre rations, waiting in long queues to get their weekly (tiny) supply of butter, sugar and bacon. I wear my poppy for the kids that were separated from their parents, sent far away to families in the relative safety of the countryside (can you imagine having to send your small kids into the unknown?). I wear my poppy to remember my Grandpa on a boat the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a small-town boy on his way to England as a navigator in the RCAF (he said that it was an adventure of a lifetime for a young man, but he did admit that he was nervous about the u-boats prowling the ocean). I wear my poppy to acknowledge the bravery of regular folk asked to do things they never did before: growing food, fixing planes, making bullets, using guns. I wear my poppy for my Grandmother-in-law who had to scoop up her small baby from his pram and rush to the nearest air raid shelter when the sirens blared. I wear my poppy to remember the Holocaust and to remember what humans are capable of when hatred becomes widespread and takes aim at a specific group. I wear my poppy to remember the heroes that risked their lives to save others. I wear my poppy to remind myself to be grateful, to be kind, to connect with my neighbour, to find mutual understanding.
Why do you wear your poppy?
The poppy is the ultimate symbol of ‘never again’. I hope for a world without war. I hope that by pinning this flower to our lapels and maintaining this act of remembrance and reflection that we can teach our children the true value of peace.