The poppy. There is something rather distinctive about the poppy. The emblem is so poignant it is recognisable by everyone, across all Continents, throughout the World. This year commemorates a whole century on from the start of the First World War; the poppies serve as a reminder of those who have sacrificed their own lives in order for us to live the lives we lead today.
Nowadays there are a huge variety of poppies for us to choose from, ranging from the standard paper poppy, which tends to fall apart before Remembrance Sunday itself, to the jewel-encrusted pin that catches your eye as it sparkles in the winter sunlight. Whilst everyone will be accustomed to the tradition of wearing a poppy, how many times do you stop to think about what wearing a poppy actually signifies?
I am not sure where I would place myself when it comes to my own views of war. In general, I am not sure I completely agree with the concept. From a young age I promised myself that I would never marry someone in the forces, not necessarily out of principal, more for the selfish reasons of not wanting to hardly ever see my husband or for the fear of losing them in a foreign land over a political stance that I did not fully understand. On the other hand, I am thankful for those who have given their lives, including my Great Uncle Peter Gleeson, who died at the tender age of twenty-one after being shot down in 1944. Therefore, my twenty-one year old brother’s most recent decision to join the Marines was not met with entire jubilation from me. That being said, I feel a huge sense of pride knowing that my friend Faith is currently ongoing officer training at Sandhurst, soon to become an esteemed member of the armed forces. As I said, I am not entirely sure where I stand on my view of War.
Over a cup of tea and biscuits in front of the fire last week, my friends and I decided that everyone would be so much better off if they just got on with one another. While this may seem like somewhat of a juvenile conclusion to come to, perhaps what we were really contemplating was why it is necessary to fight amongst ourselves; surely there must be a better alternative.
Although I may be sceptical about the necessity of recent wars, there is no doubt in my mind that we need to be wholly grateful to those servicemen and women that serve and protect us, showing bravery of the highest order; from those who we remember for their courage, to those who have been left behind.
So today I will be wearing my poppy with pride (I went for one of the jewel-encrusted ones), and during the two-minute silence I will be remembering those who have fallen and be thankful to them, for without them our lives would not be what they are today.