Sunday, November 13, 2011

White poppies disrespect veterans, misinterpret red poppies

Few symbols in our society are as universally understood and respected as the red poppy. 

The red poppy has been used as a symbol of remembrance in Canada since 1921.  We also knows of the infamous In Flanders Fields, in which red poppies “blow between the crosses, row on row.”

It’s a classic and universally understood symbol, not subject to political considerations of whether war is “right” or “necessary” or “wrong.”  It’s a symbol that represents the brave men and women in uniform who have served our country and paid the ultimate price so that Canada could become the Canada as we know it today.  The country in which they paid that ultimate price may have changed, as have the Prime Ministers and Parliaments which decided to send those brave soles to war.  The act of remembrance is premised on remembering the soldiers, not the government that sent them or the reasons for such.

But a “peace organization” in Prince Edward Island has been assaulting this invaluable symbol for several years now.  They’ve come out with the white poppy, which they say represents peace as opposed to violence and war.  They’re opposing war, as if anyone wearing the red poppy is pro-war or pro-death.

What white poppy proponents fail to realize is that they’re violently shoving their “peace” symbol in the face of poppy wearers who clearly don’t like war or death (who does?).  The red poppy brings back not only memories of Flander’s Fields, but of the blood spilled by our brave soldiers.

Jim Ross, president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Prince Edward Island, said “to denigrate a symbol of the remembrance of people who died for this country certainly is emotional.”  And almost 60 percent of respondents in an online CBC poll agreed.

Not only does the white poppy denigrate the red poppy, it steals revenues from the Legion too.  Poppy boxes are placed in various locations across Canada, and the poppy purchases and donations received go towards the Legion’s operations and support services.  As a former cadet who supported the Legion by selling poppies in October and November, it was not uncommon for a person to donate $5, $10, or $20 for a single poppy.  Using the white poppy to attempt to supplant the red poppy steals money from veteran’s pockets and replaces and essential symbol with a meaningless one.

So whether they served in Korea or Afghanistan, Rwanda or Normandy, veterans deserve our utmost respect and remembrance.  Do not devalue such an important symbol by recognizing an organization bent on curbing the remembrance of our fallen men and women.  Wear a red poppy.  Lest we forget.