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Why wear a Poppy?

It is the time of year when every where you look you see people wearing Poppys, nearly every shop you walk in to will have a collection box and a variety of poppies. People, including many veterans, will spend hours standing in supermarkets and on street corners with their collection boxes, but why?

As a child, I was always told that a poppy symbolised the death of a soldier. Being a child I used to think that every time I saw a poppy a soldier had died there. In a way I had been told the truth.
The use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem In Flanders Fields. Its opening lines refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies parts of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, bring to an end World War 1 (1918).
The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance of members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I.

The following poem pretty much describes why we wear a poppy

A Poem – The Inquisitive Child
Why are they selling poppies, Mummy? Selling poppies in town today.
The poppies, child, are flowers of love. For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy? Why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child, men fought and died in the fields where the poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red, Mummy? Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child. The blood that our soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy. Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief. For the men who never came back.
But why, Mummy are you crying so? Your tears are giving you pain.
My tears are my fears for you my child. For the world is forgetting again

It is unfortunate that the political correctness of today’s society has lead to the wearing of a poppy as causing offence to others. This has led to some companies banning there employees from wearing a poppy, under the guise of it not being uniform.
It does not happen so much now, the last notable one being Poundland who subsequently did a u-turn.
Last year, Harriet Phipps was banned from wearing a poppy on her uniform. She then went on to start a campaign bringing the issue to the forefront. She has also started a petition in the hope of getting the 100,000 signatures to get the matter debated in Parliament.
Birmingham City Council banned The Royal British Legion from collecting on the 11th, due to giving a permit to another charity for that day.

It gets worse, and this is the bit that I can not help but get angry about.
First let me state that I am all for freedom of speech, but there are some topics that should be left alone, that remain taboo because they form part of the basis of a society.
The use of the poppy to symbolise the losses in conflicts, and providing a focus for The Royal British Legion to collect money to help the survivors of those conflicts, is a fundamental part of British society.

Last year Emdadur Choudhury, a Muslim extremist, burnt poppies on Armistice day. He was fined £50 having been charged with an offence under Section 5 of Public Order Act 1986.
This year he is planning to do it again with his “Hell for Heroes” event.
The Public Order Act 1986 allows for a maximum fine of £1000 or up to 6 months imprisonment.
I wonder what will be the punishment this year. He will probably still be collecting an alleged £25,000 in benefits though.

At the end of the day it is your choice. I will be wearing mine, and I will continue to raise awareness of the The Royal British Legion though my membership of the “Riders Branch“, all the year around.

A great quote says “Thank a teacher if you can read, thank a soldier if you can read in english!”

Let us never forget those that fought for us to have what we have today.

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