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What we remember on November 11th

by Brianna Ballard November 10, 2015
What we remember on November 11th

Some want the white ‘peace’ poppy to supplant the classic red symbol.

Every November, my grandmother wears a red poppy. It’s a nice one, with a small Canadian flag in the center. I remember her giving me one when I was younger, and teaching me to pin it on the left side of my jacket, over my heart. She wears it not only to show respect for veterans, but to remember my grandfather, who was a veteran himself.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Graphic by Charlotte Bracho.

Pretty much every Canadian knows what the red poppy stands for, and we’ve all seen volunteers from the Canadian Legion in grocery stores and shopping malls with a donation tin and a box of pins. But not everyone has heard about the white poppies that are trying to take over Remembrance Day.

The white poppy campaign is a practically non-existent movement that believes that red poppies glorify war. The supporters are trying to get people to wear white poppies instead of red ones, in the name of promoting peace. What these wannabe-peace-activists don’t seem to understand is that remembering the past is not the same as being an active supporter of certain political views.

I am far from being pro-war, yet I still wear a poppy because I can recognize the significant contribution that veterans have made to Canada’s history. I can also understand that wearing a red poppy doesn’t indicate my policy on current military situations.

The white poppy campaign seems to think its cause is noble, but in truth, there isn’t one solid reason to attack the red poppy. In fact, white poppies could be doing more harm than good.

The little donation you make to wear a red poppy doesn’t just vanish into thin air—and it certainly doesn’t go to funding wars overseas. According to the Canadian Legion, the money doesn’t even go straight into veterans’ pockets, either.

In Montreal, the money from the red poppies mainly goes to charities. It goes to the Ste. Anne’s Veterans hospital, school boards, food banks and scholarships for students who have veterans in their family, among other things.

What is the white poppy movement doing for anybody?

Luckily, although the movement is quite prominent in the UK, Canadians don’t seem to be catching onto the idea of white poppies. It was started in Ottawa by the Canadian Peace Alliance, and made headlines across the country. But in truth, the distribution of white poppies can’t even compare with red poppies.

Over 18 million Canadians showed their support for the Canadian Legion by wearing a red poppy last year.

Basically, there is nothing wrong with red poppies. They bring the country together in remembrance.

We all grew up with them; we attended assemblies where bagpipes were played and the poem “In Flanders Fields” was read to us. Wanting peace isn’t a bad thing, but pulling out the white poppy argument at a time when we are trying to show respect for the people who served our country is extremely inconsiderate. Promote peace somewhere else, at an appropriate time.

Let the country remember its history.

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