On not wearing a poppy

In recent years i have struggled with an internal conflict over whether or not to wear a poppy around Armistice Day. It is hard for me to feel anything but deep sorrow that war happens at all. It seems to me that the wearing of poppies may have become somewhat misconstrued. There seems to be less grieving and more … it almost feels like celebration … at least there is some kind of honour and heroism that goes along with it, and i find that impossible to associate with.

I know that war in the past has been necessary. I know that people were killed and injured and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, and i am grateful for what these people have done, and continue to do.

Yet my far stronger emotion is a powerful dislike of war that makes me want to distance myself from it. A red poppy to me speaks too strongly of violence and bloodshed. Everything within me longs for a peaceful alternative to the horror of war. I wish there was another way: i desperately desire peace and harmony, equality and freedom for all. I understand that these may be naive desires, and i certainly don’t understand everything about the history of wars and all the reasons for wars that are happening at the moment. Still, this is how i feel.

For me there are no heroes of war, only victims.

Feel free to try and change my mind. I’m still conflicted about this and i am aware that i could be wrong. At the moment, i’m choosing to pay my respects inwardly, as i feel the outward expression may be misinterpreted for something i don’t want it to be. So, for now at least, i’m choosing not to wear a poppy.

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12 comments on “On not wearing a poppy

  1. I say wear it, dont conform to what others think it means. You cant please people no matter which way you go so you might as well stick to what it means for you and your values.

  2. if you read my post again, you'll see that it is precisely for what it means to me that i choose not to wear a poppy.

  3. When I learned about WW1 and 2 at primary and secondary school the suffering of conscripted people has always resonated strongly with me and I tend to keep my interpretation of the poppy as a sign of why war should be avoided. That said your comment about “celebration” is a valid one, some people probably do choose to celebrate the bravery of so many people which can sometimes mask the complexitys of war and unfortunatly gloryfy when it should instead be warning against. I wear the poppy as an outward sign of why war should be avoided and you choose not to wear one for the same reason – I respect your position on this, thanks for sharing and opening an interesting debate.

  4. I appreciate your feedback. I think if everyone had the same opinion as you i would be comfortable wearing a poppy. But the negative connotations, however unintentional, are enough for me not to want to wear one.

  5. Hmmm – I have opted not to wear a poppy for many many years and like you, thought a white poppy would be the answer for those occasions when I am pressured into wearing one. (This happened at a choral society concert a couple of years ago and I wasn't happy. I think I managed to get away with not wearing one, but would have felt better with a white one.) Now I'm worrying about our November concert this year (on Sat 13th) and wondering if poppies will again be expected/provided … and was seriously going to get a white one. I didn't realise they upset people. Who would have thought being anti-war and people being killed in war could upset anyone? Whilst I would be happy enough to give to charities supporting ex-soldiers, I wish they supported *all* victims of war, not just the ones their governments were paying to wreak havoc.

  6. I think the white poppy can be interpreted as disrespectful by the families of people who have died in war. I don't really want to upset anyone.

  7. Thanks for giving us a chance to have a lighter and amusing blog post after a long time I am fed up of the political involvement everywhere…

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