Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Poppy


There are many things I take for granted and make universal assumptions about. For me as a Canadian, wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day, November 11th, is something that I assumed every allied country from World War 1 would have as a tradition. I also assumed that everyone would know the poem by John McCrae, In Flanders Fields. Here in France, the French do not wear a poppy but rather the blue cornflower is their symbol for Armistice Day. In fact, it is the Americans, British and Canadians who have fully adopted the poppy tradition. I understand the New Zealanders and Australians have access to buy the poppy but only a small percentage of the population have incorporated it.

For the French the cornflower represents peace; however for the Americans, Canadians and those from the British Isles there are controversial explanations for the wearing of the poppy.

I have never bought into the controversy - to me wearing the poppy is a symbol of remembrance and a promise to strive for a peaceful world. When I hear about one group or another believing that it represents war: all soldiers, all wars and only that, I don't care to argue with them. I do not believe the symbolism to be that single minded. Then there are those who want a white poppy and others a purple. Interestingly the poppy comes in all colours.

It is what it is for you and you alone. If someone wants to know why I wear a red poppy, my answer has already been stated. With that, I will not bother to try to convince anyone - follow your heart when it comes to wearing a symbol or not . . . but only remember and do not forget that others died fighting for their country's ideas of freedom and many of us have benefitted from these losses.


  1. Wearing a Poppy for me is important for those same reason. To represent PEACE and to remember those who gave us PEACE. Some people came home from this war and sadly some didn't. My Dad's uncle, who my Dad and I never met, was one of the young men that never returned home. Yet everyday I experience what he did for us. He gave us freedom.

    1. Thank you Brian - you have "spoken" for many who have had similar family experiences and want, need and should remember.

      France is presently observing 3 days of mourning for the tragic Paris attacks - maybe I will wear my poppy again, this time still for remembrance but for innocent civilians who were just living and enjoying the moment. These people cannot be forgotten because their lives were ended while experiencing the freedom we take joy and pride in. They died because of someone's misguided beliefs which denies freedom. I will not give the attackers the honour of naming their cause.


Your comments inspire me and so I read them in gratitude and reply with delight. Thank you.