Reds vs Whites – Poppies at war


Some controversy has erupted near me as Remembrance Day approaches. A store in Edmonton, the capital of the province I live in, has been selling white poppies, recognizing the peace campaign of decades old White Poppy Organization rather than the more traditional red poppy of the disabled vets association and the Legion in Canada. The Legion and Canadian veterans are upset that a different poppy from the traditional red one is being sold at this time of year.

While I am well known as a pacifist and a supporter of peace, and while I fully support the White Poppy Organization and its mission, in this particular case, I have no choice but to side with the red poppy in early November in Canada. Perhaps its just patriotism, but even so, thats enough. Still, there is a specific meaning to the Remembrance Day commemorations and the poppy campaign leading up to it, in Canada anyway … the purpose is to pay tribute to soldiers who have died, and those who still live with scars of battle. The sale of Red Poppies is both a way to draw attention to that commemoration, and a way to raise a pittance of money for people who deserve far more respect than they typically get.

The cause of the white poppy is a valid one, and any other time of year, I might have a White Poppy display in a retail space. But come late October, through Nov 11th, it would come down in favour of a Red Poppy display, not out of any disrespect for the White Poppy Organization or the cause of peace, but out of recognition of the very real and necessary message of Remembrance Day. It’s because I believe in the cause of peace that I am so passionate about Remembrance day – commemorated at 11:11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month, in recognition of the end of WW I – and the red poppy at this time of year … no matter how I feel about it, people have fought and died, and fought and lived, for my right to be a pacifist. I’m happy to support the cause of the White Poppy Organization for the other 11 months of the year, but certainly, during this time of year, we must err on the side of our veterans.


One Response

  1. I cannot believe that there is even a question as to White Vs Red. The red poppy is already losing an up hill battle with people forgetting or who don’t even know it’s meaning and now we are going to muddy up the waters with a new colour which has a totally differect meaning. A meaning that I think goes against the Red poppy.

    Let the White Poppy find it’s own symbol which will become a house hold name if people support it. But let us stand beside Our Vets and What the Red Poppy stands for and say no to the Symbol of the White Poppy.

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