Remembrance Poppy

The remembrance poppy has been used since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. Largely inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields.” It was first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers killed in that war (1914-1918). Later, it was adopted by veteran groups in parts of the former British Empire (UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.) Today, it is most common in Canada and the UK and used to commemorate their servicemen and women killed in ALL conflicts since 1914.  Artificial poppies are often worn on clothing leading up to Remembrance Day, which falls on 11 November. In addition, wreaths of poppies are laid at war memorials.

Most people during this time of the year and leading up to November 11 will wear a poppy. This includes public figures and especially TV presenters. Those who choose NOT to wear the poppy have been harshly criticised. (Am talking to you Sienna Miller). Also, some have dubbed this as “poppy fascism” and argue that the Poppy Appeal is being used to justify and glorify current wars. In addition, wearing the poppy in Northern Ireland is pretty controversial. Most Irish nationalists and Irish Catholics refuse to wear one. This is mainly due to the action of the British Army during the Troubles. But Ulster Protestants and Unionists usually wear them.

The Red Poppy

A red poppy is most often work and is symbolic in nature, to represent the wild  poppies which dominate the fields of northern France and Belgium. This is also where some of the deadliest battles in World War I took place, resulting in many deaths.  Also, poppies are known as tough flowers and can grow almost anywhere-but they are also very delicate. It is widely thought that this is a fitting emblem to remember and honour those who have died while in military conflicts.

When to wear it

Many say that you should wear your poppy from 31 October. Others say that you should wear it in the 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day. While some say that you should wait until after bonfire night.

How to wear it

Many say you should wear it on your left-this symbolises that you keep those who died close to your heart. Also, this is where military medals are worn. Some say, men should wear it on the left and women on the right (like you would a brooch.) The Queen however, wears hers on the left. Well, if its good enough for the Queen then its good enough for me.

The red poppy hijab

Student Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, 24 designed the poppy hijab to appeal to British Muslims who mark Remembrance Sunday. In addition, she wanted to raise awareness of the 400K Muslim soldiers and the 1.3 million Indian soldiers who fought alongside the British troops in World War I.  The Islamic Society of Britain and integration think tank British Future, are selling the scarf for £22 with all proceeds to the Poppy Appeal.

Pictures of the poppy hijab

The White Poppy

Similar to the red poppy, the purpose is to help remember those who have died in conflict, while emphasising a lasting commitment to PEACE. It was first introduced by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in 1933 and is now sold by the Peace Pledge Union. Their mottos is: “war is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.”

How to wear it

Either on its own or alongside a red poppy.

The Purple Poppy

This poppy was created in 2006 to remember the animal victims of war. All donations go to the charity Animal Aid. Further, the charity adds: “During human conflicts, animals have been used as messengers, for detection, scouting and rescue, as beasts of burden and on the frontline” And also  “Please wear a purple poppy and help us to raise awareness of these forgotten victims.”

A horse is landed from a British military transport ship at Boulogne, France, during World War I

How to wear it

You can wear the purple poppy alongside your white or red. This is relatively new thing and the purple poppy was first used in 2006.

So now you know everything there is to know about wearing a poppy.

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4 comments

  1. Benedetta · November 6, 2015

    What a great description of Poppy Remembrance, thanks for sharing this!!

  2. Yvonne · November 7, 2015

    When I was 12 years old, my mom and I went to Belgium to visit her remaining family members. They took us to Flanders Fields; I can still remember the vision of thousands of white crosses and blood red poppies.

    • samdfb1 · November 7, 2015

      Amazing. Thanks for that Yvonne. x

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