Fringe Box



Letter: We Remembered With White Poppies

Published on: 12 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 12 Nov, 2013

White poppyFrom John Morris

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for The Peace Party

Around ten people gathered quietly in Quakers Acre on Remembrance Sunday morning and stood in a semicircle to listen to a few words that I read out.

After thanking them for coming to join the simple ceremony, I continued, “We are here to remember all those who died in wars and to help ourselves and others to seek ways forward to resolve differences between people without resorting to bloodshed.”

I said that we were meeting in the hope that all people will commit themselves to a world of peaceful co-existence and to insist that those in power should resist the use of violence and war, whatever happens, that conflicts should always be resolved with justice and without violence.

Over 300 wars later and after the slaughter of over 200 million people the white poppy is a reminder of the world’s failure to prevent war.  It is a symbol of people’s determination to work together to abolish war for good.  That time has to be now.

White poppies were conceived by the Women’s Co-operative Guild and made their appearance on Armistice Day 1933, 80 years ago.  Many members of the guild had lost loved ones in the First World War and they foresaw and feared the next one.  The white poppy was born out of this fear and signified hope for a peaceful, a non-violent future.

I continued, “We are here today to mourn and grieve for the women and men the old-style politicians saw fit to send to take part in their wars and who were killed on the battlefield sacrificed by governments for their own purposes and not for the good of humanity.

“We remember them, we respect absolutely what they chose to do and the reasons they saw for going to war and we remember their bereaved families and friends.”

I went on to say that we broadened our grief to include the service men and women who returned home wounded and traumatised as a result of their governments’ wars and that we remembered the women and men and their shattered families.

“We broaden our grief even wider,” I said, “to include all the millions of civilians who had been killed, injured and traumatised, caught up in the politicians’ wars; we remembered them and their families and friends.  The loving care, respect concern and compassion one person has for another, and for the whole of humanity, allows no space at all for violence and war, only for a culture of peace.”

I concluded, “As we place the wreath of white poppies here, we re-dedicate ourselves to continue to work for that culture of peace.  War must cease to be an inevitable part of our world.”

We then stood in silence for many minutes.  One or two spoke briefly before we went our separate ways.

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