Remembrance Day is on the way, coming next Saturday, and there is a conversation being raised that has caused a little bit of confusion and also a little bit of conflict. In an attempt to clear some things up this post is about the White Poppy and the Red Poppy here in Canada.
You should be familiar with the Red Poppy which has been around Canada since 1921, and has been distributed by the non-profit Royal Canadian Legion. It is meant to be a symbol of remembrance of fallen soldiers; inspired by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields.”
But there is another poppy whose history is nearly as old, the White Poppy of peace, which was created by pacifists in 1926, though it wasn’t sold until 1933. The purpose of the White Poppy is to remember all the victims of war in an effort to promote peace. An organization called the Peace Pledge Union has been part of the White Poppy movement since 1934 and they released a video this year about their poppy.
Video by Peace Pledge Union youtube.
If you viewed that video and are feeling upset by the idea of Red Poppy profiteering for war; please remember that in Canada the Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit organization. This video is distributed by a UK group that is non-government but not listed as non-profit.
There is a discussion currently ongoing, a debate, regarding the white poppy and if it is in conflict with the red. Some claim the Red Poppy glorifies war, some that the White Poppy takes funds away from veterans. To this discussion I will leave an open letter which was sent to The Georgian Straight – A Vancouver paper by one; Michael Major.
Nothing says that you must choose between wearing a Red Poppy or a White Poppy, you can wear either, both, or none at all and still take part or not in the Remembrance Day events which will take place next Saturday. There is no insult tied to wearing either Poppy, none unless you raise it.
Both poppies stand for peace. Both stand for remembrance. Both stand for an end to war. Wear either with pride. Or none. The best thing about being Canadian is you have that choice.
Thank you for reading,