A Poppy is not just for November

Remembrance Sunday is almost upon us.

For many, the outward symbol to support this is the Red Poppy. However, the wearing of the poppy is not a requirement for individuals who wish to respect the memory of the countless millions of men and women who died, or were injured, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy.

By all means, pop a few pounds into the collection tin and wear the poppy with pride – if that’s your way to acknowledging others’ sacrifices. More important, though, is the act of remembrance itself. Take just a few minutes to pause your busy life and think about those who fought, often many miles from home, on our behalf.

Supporting Remembrance does not make you a war-monger, imperialist, zealot or xenophobe. Wars take the lives of people irrespective of their gender, religion, race, nationality, political persuasion, or age. They are not as simple as good versus evil.

On Sunday, I will reflect not for a particular Country, regiment or individual. I will remember the countless anonymous Allied soldiers who liberated my late Dutch mum, her family, city and country from Nazi oppression – so many ordinary men and women, who did extraordinary things. Too many of them never lived to see the results of their sacrifice.

My mum always wore her poppy with pride. She did so not to make a public statement, but to give thanks.

She did not just reserve her thankfulness to November, though. It was a lifelong, year round appreciation.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” Laurence Binyon

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