Why I Can Not Wear The Poppy

I should start by saying that I do not write this to be controversial. I do not write it to be contrarian. I do not write it to counter what others feel deeply about.

I write it because it is true for me and for no other reason.

I do not wear the poppy.

I do not wear the poppy – not because I think less about what it means, but because I think about what it means a lot. I don’t wear a poppy for the same reason I don’t pretend to pray when I go into churches for weddings or funerals. I don’t do it because I do not want to play at something that means a great deal to people when I am so deeply conflicted by it.

I am conflicted. I do not have an easy answer. I do not have a stance. I do not think I am right and you are wrong.

I don’t wear it because I wonder if we understand, fully, what happened on November 11th, 1918. That was a moment of armistice. Not a moment of war. I might wear a poppy if I felt it stood for the end of fighting, but I feel like it may stand for the continued fighting and that makes me sad for our entire species.

That may not be what it means to you. I get that. I respect that. For me, I can’t celebrate the people who died to procure peace or profit or ideology until we are far less lackadaisical about doing the same now. For me, a poppy would be a celebration of our desire to stop sending humans to fight one another, but, whether it’s impractical, impossible or just not in our nature, I don’t see that happening.

For me Remembrance Day is a day of mourning. Mourning is personal. I may not do it the way everyone else does. I’m okay with that.

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