Why do we wear a The Red Poppy on Remembrance Day?
It all started in the early 19th century in Western Europe, after the Napoleonic wars. It left the fields damage by the millions of men who walked and died on the them. Once the war was over the poppies took over the barren land, as they always do, not knowing what had happened before before them.
During World War One in 1914, the fields were once again left barren by the horrors of war. The poppies were the first to blossomed on the scars of the ground, their beauty making it hard to believes what had happened, not that long ago.
In 1915, Dr John McCrae a Canadian surgeon wrote the poem, In Flanders Field, right after his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed by an exploding German artillery shell.
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 flower is the symbol of those who have fallen and the sacrifices that many others had to make during the wars.
Why do some people wear the White Poppy?
Have you ever seen a White Poppy? It is not a mistake. It was created in 1933 by the Women’s Co-operative Guild. The White Poppy is a symbol the end of all wars and lasting peace. It should be worn on the Sunday that follows Remembrance Day.
The White Poppy did create some turmoil, some veterans felt it was undermining the meaning of the Red Poppy and of their contribution. The White Poppy was never intended to offend or to reduce the memory of those who risked and gave their lives in the Great War.
It was such a big issue at the time that many women lost their jobs for wearing it. To prevent any other conflicts The White Poppy Appeal is now run by the Peace Pledge Union.