The poppy is supposed to represent the fallen of war. It was inspired by the World War 1 poem ‘Flanders Fields’, and has been the emblem of those who died in the service of the Armed Forces since 1921. Of late many people see it as a political statement, ignoring what it was originally set up to commemorate. The poppy is not meant as an idolisation of war, it is a remembrance of the sacrifice of those who gave their lives to keep our countries safe. The poppy appeal itself uses the money it raises to help veterans of war and their families.
I do not celebrate war, in fact I hope continually for the end of conflict the world over. The reason I wear the poppy is to remember people like my Grandad George, who was in the RAF and an air traffic controller in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, my Great Aunty Margaret, who was part of the Women’s Army in the UK, and her first husband Norman, who was killed only a few days after they married. I’m the First World War my Great Grandmothers worked in the munitions factories.
Being a small island nation with Europe only across the channel, it was a terrifying and very real prospect for people in Great Britain that their countries would be taken over by a hostile force. A number of the larger cities were bombed in WW2. My Grandad Tony has memories of the bombers flying over Coventry when he was a boy.
I wear the poppy because I am grateful to the generations who gave their lives and services to keep the UK safe from the threat of invasion. If it weren’t for the efforts of those men and women the UK, and parts of Europe, would be a very different place now. We value our freedom, and that is what those people were fighting for.
I honour the fact that the people in our Armed Forces are fighting for a concept I can believe in – freedom – even if I find it very hard to agree with the means.
I wear the poppy to honour those who fought for freedom, especially those who fought in WW1 and WW2. I also see it as a way of honouring my ancestors who were in the Wars.
If you would like to find out more about the symbolism of the Poppy, and also the controversies surrounding it, these two pages have some very good information: