Sunday, 12 November 2017


Every year we are treated to the full array of opinion in respect of Remembrance Sunday and the meaning of the poppy. It seems that each year we achieve a new low for attention seeking crass remarks by people looking to excuse themselves from a simple act of reflection.

What is lost in this is the universality of the poppy. Whether you mourn the loss of a loved one or wear one in respect for an ancestor, there are many other issues upon which we can reflect. We can lament the naivety and venality of the politicians who bring us to such unimaginably awful events. We can salute the bravery of the men and women who fought, but we can also salute the courage and persistence of the people who came together to to help each other.

Then there are the conscientious objectors who faced imprisonment and death. They would sacrifice their lives for an equally noble principle. They would face the shame and ridicule of society to stand for an idea. Their contribution to the liberty we enjoy today is just as valid. We can even pause to think of the eight million horses who died in combat. Whatever your reason, there is always a reason. 

Ultimately the annual ritual is a moment of national unity where we reflect on what the poppy means to us. My reason is not the same as yours, but for one day it matters to reflect on where we have been, where we are going, and what we stand for. By all means excuse yourself if you wish. That is a choice you are free to make - but that freedom is not a given - and that is why this simple act is still important.

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