Saturday, November 6, 2010

The White Poppy

My thoughts about Remembrance Day have been blogged before. This year, I was going to blog about the inevitable story of a low-life thief stealing a red poppy donation box. Let's talk a little bit about that. I've set up donation boxes for various fundraising events before. If you have a red poppy donation box: PLEASE secure them when on display! PLEASE hide them after hours! PLEASE have them checked on often!

With that out of the way, I'd like to talk about the buzz around white poppies this year. The white poppy campaign started in the UK as a less soldier-centric take on Remembrance Day. Some people feel that Remembrance Day promotes the glory and/or necessity of war. I have never thought of Remembrance Day or the red poppy campaign this way. Remembrance Day is somewhat like a funeral ceremony, and it's purpose is to remember the dead. Imagine one group going to a funeral of someone that died of cancer, and another group staging a competing rally proclaiming that cancer is terrible. Those messages are not exactly in conflict with each other. However the first group is having a more personal solemn event, while the latter group is having a more detached and reactive event. Ultimately, both groups have come up with different ways of dealing with the same issue... Either group could argue that the other is missing the point.

I have very mixed feelings about the white poppy campaign. I support it in principle, but I chastise it for bad timing. I feel that Remembrance Day is not a day for divisive arguments. Perhaps the white poppy can have any other day (or ALL other days), but November 11 should remain solely for the purpose of remembering those that have fallen during war.

PS: At the end of the day, this argument doesn't matter since I have not seen white poppies on display in my area. I suspect they may show up next year after all this buzz it's been generating. I may wear both red and white in early November... but only red on November 11.

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