The Remembrance Poppy, an iconic feature that never seems to escape media attention. At the northernmost point of the Western Front during the First World War, trench lines inscribed the earth, and Flanders fastly became one of the most confounded regions of the entire battlefield. Despite anarchy and chaos, nature never seemed to give up, even when humanity did. Thousands of dead men engraved on the soil, highlighted only by the distinct pure red of the Poppy. Bodies sown in the midst of a moment, the artificial feature a fitting remembrance for prices paid.
With tokens as recognised as the Poppy, it’s only natural that somewhere, someone, will find an offence with it. One in six (apparently) refuses to wear a Poppy. It’s no secret that recent events that scatter the globe spark racial hatred and attach a tainted stigma. In research for this article, I’ve trawled the internet and come across a fair few ridiculous notions. Seemingly (according to an uneducated skin head sat at his computer surrounded by nonsense) we should wear the Poppy to show ‘which side we’re on’. The simple fact is (firstly he’s an idiot) that it signifies respect and recognition, and also raises a lot of money for fantastic causes. Politics have their way of tainting everything on the planet, and it was only a matter of time that the arrogant and, ‘controversial’ would sink their claws into a tradition that we’ve been brought up with.
It was McCrae’s poem that inspired the American ‘Moina Michael’ to make the synthetic red silk poppies that we recognise today. The Royal British Legion (formed in 1921) then ordered a staggering 9 million, raising over £106,000 which was used to help WW1 veterans with employment, housing and other necessities.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Poppy is associated with patriotic tradition and respect. It is not a symbol of race or religion. So wear your Poppy proud, and if by chance you’re an uneducated numpty who has conjured up a reason to take offence, research the history, and pay your respects.