Why I will not be wearing a Poppy this year.

Remembrance day, as the name suggests was designed to be a forceful annual reminder of just how horrific and destructive a war can be. Every year the country would have one minute of silence to remember those men and women who died in what we now call the two world wars, the idea being that if we forget what it was like then  we are bound to repeat our mistakes and plunge ourselves into yet another even more terrifying conflict. It seems to me that this message has been lost over the years and that November 11th has become yet another excuse for national pride and flag-waving. I find this extremely disrespectful to those servicemen and women (for the most part conscripts) whose lives were taken from them because political ideologies and national identities were allowed to become more important than the peoples’ lives. People died because we as a species lost sight of what is really important and now, almost 90 years on, on the day that we agreed to set aside to mourn and remember our mistake, people take to the streets with flags – the very symbol of the problem that caused such devastation. Wearing a Poppy has become intertwined today with smugness about winning 2 wars that ended long before most of us were even born, a war that we agreed was not really a victory for anyone, but a loss for humanity. I will have a private minute of silence for the dead – though I think that one minute in a year is hardly adequate, but I will not wear a symbol whose original meaning was noble but which has been stolen by the kind of people who would rather recapitulate their ancestors’ dubious victory than remember the dead.

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