Remembrance Sunday, the day on which we commemorate members of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces as well as civilian casualties of conflict, is here.
Remembrance Sunday – always the second Sunday in November – will be followed by Armistice Day, which always falls on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
To show their support for the Armed Forces, people up and down the country buy and wear poppies.
While the traditional poppy colour is red, there are other colours of poppies out there which represent all manner of different things concerning the Armed Forces.
For instance, purple poppies are intended to commemorate the animals who list their lives serving their country, and black poppies are commemorating people of all nations of African, Black, West Indian and Pacific Islander heritage who contributed to war efforts.
There’s also the white poppy, which has been sold for the better part of a century…
What do white poppies represent?
The white poppy was first used as a symbol for peace in 1926 by those who supported ending all war.
It first started being sold by members of the Women’s Co-operative Guild, who had mourned the deaths of loved ones during the first World War, in 1933.
The following year, the Peace Pledge Union began to distribute white poppies as an alternative to the red ones as a commemoration symbol.
On the subject of why white poppies are distributed, Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager at the Peace Pledge Union, previously wrote for Metro.co.uk: ‘White poppies are not a generic peace symbol. Nor are they a protest against remembrance. Quite the opposite: they are a symbol of remembrance for people who have died or suffered in war. That’s why we wear them on Remembrance Day.
‘White poppies also represent a commitment to peace. This follows from remembering the horrors of war. We never say red poppies glorify war – we know many red poppy wearers share many of our values.
‘Instead, we challenge ways in which remembrance is misused to promote a positive image of war or dodgy claims about what war has supposedly achieved.’
He added: ‘My white poppy doesn’t mean I’m against remembrance. I wear it precisely because I believe in remembrance so much. Remembering the past means recognising its complexities, asking difficult questions, learning from history. If we don’t learn from the past, we are condemned to repeat it.’
If that ideas appeals to you, you can purchase white poppies through the PPU shop online.
As the website puts it, profits from poppy sales go towards, ‘promoting peaceful alternatives to war, campaigning against militarism and our peace education work.’
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