White Poppies Make Me See Red

One thing I’ve noticed in this town is I’ve found it hard to find a place to get a poppy! I went to the bank across the street, I ran there before work, and no, they didn’t have them, nor did they know where I should go. I’ve never had to google it, but I tried…and google thought I wanted a puppy, and sent me to Kijiji! Um how about no? Apparently they’re at grocery stores, but I’ve always gotten them from the bank, so now I have one…or had one until it fell off yesterday. Must fix that, do not want to look like a disrespectful jerk.

But as I’m still walking around looking like a disrespectful jerk, I heard about another type of disrespectful jerk, one that’s walking around with another symbol pinned to their coats. Thankfully it wasn’t a poppy with a swastika through the centre, but this one is a white poppy.

So what the heck is a white poppy, you ask? According to the leaders of the movement, they’re a symbol of peace, a symbol of remembrance for those who we lost in the war, and a request to have no more war.

Um? Like the red ones?

According to these misguided souls, no. The read ones are glorifying war, and celebrate the war dead.

*shakes head* Where have you been? I have never thought of Remembrance Day as a day of celebration. I have never thought of a poppy like some kind of twisted corsage to put on as I go to the ra ra let’s blow stuff up party. I have worn it out of respect for those who went to war, people we have lost and people who had to face the horrors of it and still live with what they saw. I have worn it to say I remember, and I appreciate what they have done for us. In fact, I feel like a total asshole if I don’t have one on in November…which is the case currently.

The ones who really confuse me are the family members of veterans who I’ve seen on the news wearing a white poppy. Why the hell would you? How can that make your family member feel? I know probably they’re glad you have the freedom to wear that thing, even if it might be a bit of a slap in the face, but still. How can you?

Also, from what I saw on the news, they’re giving out white poppies for free, unlike the red poppy, whose proceeds go to organizations to help veterans…when the lowest of the low don’t steal the donation boxes, that is. so now, on top of pissing on their symbol, you’re potentially taking money from them? Oh just wonderful. You’re doing such a good thing for society.

This whole thing reminds me of something Steve saw one day while he was on the radio. He saw a group of dudes sitting on the stairs with a paper bag over his head. When Steve asked one of the guys what they were doing, the guy said the group was trying to take the face off of hunger. Steve, disbelieving, asked them why they would do that, and wouldn’t they want to put a face on hunger? Wouldn’t they want to humanize it? I can’t remember what the guy said to Steve, but I don’t remember them having a long conversation about it. I’m sure the group’s heart was in the right place, but they had no clue how to go about it.

It feels similar with these white poppies. It seems these people have good intentions, but without meaning to, they’re undermining their own cause.

Whenever I thought about this, my mind would do its best impression of a car spinning its wheels on ice. I would try to go forward with my post, but I couldn’t get traction and I would just rev and stay in place. So Steve suggested I read some things to get me going. This opinion piece basically nailed what I wanted to say perfectly, and added in a few chuckleworthy phrases. I don’t know how much I would like her stuff on most topics, but I agree with her here.

Plus this Wikipedia article on the white poppy gave me a sense that the white poppy thing has been around for a while, just not here.

I hope I don’t get offered a white poppy while we’re out today. At least I’ve written about it, so I won’t look at them and have a vein pop out of my head out of utter fury. Must…fix…my lack…of a red poppy…situation.

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4 comments
  1. This may not be your cup of tea but to me this says it all about Veteran’s/Armistice/Remembrance Day. I wish you could see the video – there’s one shot of a neverending field of poppies in the French part of no man’s land.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_mBJgsaxlY

  2. Forgot to check the “reply” square.

  3. not a bad song at all.

  4. Eric Bogle wrote another called “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. Same general idea but he was writing about the ANZAC troops at Gallipoli. Heartbreaking reminder of the waste and futility of war.

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