Sunday, 11 November 2012

White Poppy, Red Poppy

Today is Remembrance Sunday, this year actually falling on the 11th of November.

Over the past two weeks there has been a minor exchange in the letters section of the island's newspaper, the Isle of Wight County Press. Last week Chris Murphy from Freshwater wrote advocating the wearing of the white Peace Poppy which "challenges the beliefs, values, and institutions that make war inevitable. It represents an alternative view of security, and how to achieve it without violence. It commemorates all victims of war, combatant of civilian, friend or foe."

This week D. Penberthy of Niton responded, calling the white poppy an insult, "Whether or not the white poppy man has ever served in the armed forces or has lost members of his close family who died defending his right to denigrate their efforts, is not known. One thing is abundantly clear, to advertise his beliefs on Remembrance Sunday is to insult all of those who died in the defence of his freedom."

A typical case of the reaction cutting in before the reading..... Mr. Murphy's letter states, "I believe wearing a white poppy is in no sense disrespectful of those who have fallen in war. Indeed the Peace Poppies were originally made and distributed by the widows, sweethearts, sisters and mothers of men killed in the First World War."

Also on a local note, I know that one local worthy, a Councillor, refused to purchase a poppy on the basis that he "didn't know anyone killed in the war." The proceeds from the sale of poppies is spent helping the living, the survivors of conflict and the families of those killed.

As a Buddhist, this morning I stood in the garden, wearing a red poppy, listened for the maroon fired from Yarmouth precisely at 11 o'clock, stood in silence for two minutes and remembered the fallen and maimed of all wars.

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