Remembrance Day is upon us, and I am wearing a white poppy.
This alternative to the red poppy was designed by a group of British women in 1933 to reaffirm their commitment to peace. I see it as a focus away from the red of bloodshed towards the light of hope — a hope that comes from love.
We are all familiar with the red poppy that marks Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day and Veterans’s Day.) The symbol commemorates all those who have died serving in armed conflict, and its message is “Never Again”. But wars are still happening.
We are forgetting the reason to remember, the reason to spend time in silence. Instead, in some places the day is capitalized on by retailers as an excuse to offer discount sales. More gravely, if we zoom out to the bigger picture, we see a military industrial complex with deep ties to our economy. It seems there is much to lose if we stop manufacturing instruments of war, and if we stop invading countries to plunder resources. But this is fear talking.
Critics say that to refuse the red poppy is to disrespect those who have fought for our country. I disagree. I honour all those who have died as the result of wars, innocent civilians and military personnel. War is not necessary, and I refuse to normalize it. There is another way. If I choose to love you and not fear you, I will not harm you, and I will not seek power over you. This may not be easy, but it is simple, and it can start right now.