Poppies and remembrance

Red poppies sold by the British legion have been on sale and will shortly be worn. I will be wearing a red poppy as usual. I am not interested in arguments about poppy colours or poppy flowers/wristbands/pins – each to their own. 

Both my grandfathers fought for Britain (I only knew one of them) and grandmothers both active in supporting through Wrens or similar. We once found letters written by my grandfather to my grandmother but have since destroyed them.

My family on one side has Jewish roots so we never knew who existed or not, who was murdered and there is no real interest in my family to find out. None of my immediate family or grandparents or I think great grandparents practised Judaism – some relatives (not sure exactly what relation) have although we don’t see them. 

So there are family reasons for remembering. Wearing a red poppy is also solidarity with those who fought and respecting their traditions. Wearing a wristband is not the same. My niece & nephew march with police and military & families on remembrance Sunday. 

Last year we chatted about who fought in the wars, who lost many relatives. They didn’t know much beyond Britain but understand why we remember, a little bit about how some countries suffered more and why only greedy people would want another world war.

Of course some of those who want to define groups of people as enemies and kill them for being different in whatever way will also wear poppies and do fake patriotic displays. Those who fought or lived through world wars can see this for what it is.

The poppy can be a symbol of unity in spite of the different versions and opinions. If we can’t take time to remember and put aside differences then we are not remembering tragedies and their devastating impacts and not respecting the sacrifices made to build a better world. If my niece and nephew get this at their age, then it shouldn’t be hard for everyone else.

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