As we arrive in November, my thoughts have turned to 11/11 and Rememberance Day.  It sounds so old-fashioned, but I have been wrestling with my conscience over this.  I identify strongly with the Quaker peace testimony, yet at the same time, I feel the need to ‘remember’ the fallen.  Both my grandfathers were in the forces during WW2 (as was my great uncle, who I wrote about in relation to the red poppy in a much earlier post), my dad was in the army & my brother is a serving soldier right now.  I don’t want to offend them – particularly my brother, who has lost friends and colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan – and I don’t even wish to renounce the ethos of rememberance, but I want to contribute – even if only through a small gesture – to a future of peace.  So what to do?  While some may see this as a cop-out (or worse, a measure of appeasement that fails to satisfy either side of the debate), I have decided to wear both a red poppy (rememberance) and a white poppy (peace) this year.  For me, the red one signifies the past, commemorating the lives of those who have fallen as a result of war, whether it be in 1914 or 2010.  The white poppy looks to the future, symbolising a desire for peace and end to all future wars and conflict.  Whether this is seen as idealistic, or a pointless stance on my part, I feel that it is important to me.  It is, right now, the right thing to do.

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