Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Wear a Poppy on Remembrance Day


Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and in other countries of the Commonwealth. It is known as Veteran’s Day in the United States. The Armistice that ended the First World War was signed on this day in 1918. It happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month. Here are my reflections on Remembrance Day and on war and peace.

Why I Wear a Poppy on Remembrance Day

Without equivocation, I believe that war is an abomination, a blight upon humanity.  Yet every Remembrance Day, I wear a bright red poppy.  Here's why.  I wear a poppy to honour the memory of those who have suffered and died in war. I also wear it to remind myself of the folly and futility of war. Yes, war may sometimes be necessary to rid the world of a scourge such as Nazism. It may be the only recourse to overcome a madman like Adolf Hitler. However, there is no glamour in war, only hardship, poverty and death.  It is not glorious and it is not adventurous. It is unspeakably brutal and it takes the lives of innocent people. It causes untold destruction and it cruelly separates families. It forces its victims away from their homes and into refugee camps. In times of war, the innocent are the most vulnerable and they always suffer the most.

I wear a poppy for those who died in the muddy trenches World War I. The “Great War” was an ugly and unnecessary war. When it began in August of 1914, many thought it would be a grand adventure and that the troops would be home by Christmas. They didn’t realize that such a great number of those eager, youthful combatants would never see their homes again. Sadly, those young people went to war and died because their countries were engaged in a battle for colonies and for military and economic superiority.  What a waste of human potential!

I wear a poppy for the victims of World War II and Korea and Vietnam. I wear it for those who suffered under Nazism and fascism and for those who sacrificed their lives to end the reign of those cursed ideologies. I wear it for the victims of Stalin and Mao and all those who currently live under totalitarianism and dictatorship.

I wear a poppy to remember all the women who have been violated by soldiers during wartime. I wear it for the 6 million who perished in the Holocaust and for all the victims of genocide. I wear it for the 300,000 who died in Nanking in 1937 and I wear it for those who lost their lives when the deadly atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I wear it for the victims of Pol Pot and his killing fields. I wear it for the children of war, the babes in arms who begin their lives in poverty and horror. I wear it for the orphans and widows of war. They suffer because the military-industrial complex and arms dealers throughout the world have a vested interest in war.  Without it, they would not be so affluent.  Their money would be spent on education, health care and the alleviation of poverty.

I wear a poppy to remember the mistakes of history. This is an imperfect world and humans are imperfect creatures. Evil exists and it will take root and spread if we allow it to do so.  The only answer is to educate the youth of the world so that they will not support another Adolf Hitler. We must make certain that young people are well-versed in history and that they know the truth about war, genocide and extremism of both the right-wing and the left-wing variety. They must be made aware that extremism leads to death, misery and totalitarianism.

I wear a poppy for the all the victims of terrorism and for their families. I wear it to remember those who perished on September 11, 2001. I wear it for all those who have been maimed and broken by war, both physically and psychologically. I wear it for those who lack basic human rights.   I will not forget.  On this November 11th and every November 11th, I will remember them all and I will hope for peace.


There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order (a e i o u). They are “abstemious” and “facetious.”


What is there but woe for long-suffering Toronto sports fans? The Leafs have just lost seven games in a row. The Florida Panthers defeated them last night by a score of 4-1. Where is their offence? It’s just not there. They have only one win in their last 11 games. The Toronto Raptors also lost yesterday to the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 101-96. The game was played at the Air Canada Centre before a crowd of only 14,309. Take note, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

- Joanne

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