Each year in November little containers with poppies start showing up on shop counters throughout Canada. Inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field,” poppies have been worn since the 1920′s to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. Money is raised in support of the Royal Canadian Legion who support veterans. The poppies come out two weeks before November 11th, Remembrance Day, and are typically worn on the left, close to the heart.
For some, the choice to wear a poppy has become a political statement. I do not want to get caught up in the political rhetoric, I just want to show that I won’t forget those soldiers whose lives were tragically shortened.
I wear this poppy, not with hollow remembrance, but with active thoughts of what these men and women died for. Some died for a cause, for an ideology, for freedom, for democracy. Some died because they were forced to be there. All who died were people. Real people like you and me. People with dreams and aspirations, lives and families. Some died because they thought they were doing what was right. Some died because the government forced them to be there.
I wear this poppy in remembrance of those soldiers who died in service to their country and I also wear it in support of those currently serving. I have friends serving all across this country; friends that I love and support.
I wear this poppy, not because it celebrates or glorifies war, but for the soldiers. For the men and women that served and died and those that continue to serve. For my friends. For my family.
I wear this poppy as a reminder of the wars and conflicts that have happened in the past and those that are happening now.
I’ve never been there. I’ve never participated. I’ve never experienced what it is like. I don’t know if Remembrance Day is the best way to remember their sacrifice, if it is enough, if it even matters. I don’t know if this poppy is the best way to show my support or if the poppy has gotten so wrapped up in controversy and political garbage that it has lost its original intent.
But I know why I wear this poppy. I know the intent in my heart. I am not just paying lip-service. I am actively remembering each and every day I put this poppy on.
I wear this poppy in active remembrance and on November 11th I will stop and spend a moment in silence with those around me to commemorate those fallen soldiers.
For those that don’t know the poem In Flanders Fields, it is a poem written by a Canadian physician, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.