Large white Poppies

Those of you in the Commonwealth have likely grown up with the tradition of the red poppy. Supplied by legions and veteran’s groups for the better part of the last century, the felt, paper or plastic flowers emerge every year to remind generations of people that they owe their very freedoms to the men and women who joined or supported the forces and sacrificed a great deal for future generations. The message has never been about an abject pro-war agenda. Pacifists, anti-war protesters and conscientious objectors alike wear the red poppy annually as well. But that hasn’t stopped an onslaught of vitriol taking over the minds of otherwise rational humans when a white poppy is seen.

White poppies are as old as their red counterparts and were designed and distributed in the early days by those who lost children, partners, parents and so much more. Their goal was not to shame red poppy wearers but rather to remind them that peace can be real too. These people often lost jobs, had relationships slashed – denied the very freedom of speech soldiers gave their lives for. Persistent to give peace a chance before John Lennon was born, the white poppy people continued to remind others that yes, war happens and we should be grateful for that these battles give us. But they are not an absolute requirement of life, that they can be mitigated or avoided all together.

Yet here we are in the year 2013, and the debate has reached its annual feverpitch. It’s commonly understood that the only way to show your thanks to veterans is to put your change in the little box at your coffee shop or subway station and to wear a red poppy with pride for the fortnight before November 11th. Anyone who bucks this tradition must surely have contempt for it. White poppy wearers are seen as such, regardless of their personal reasons for taking this stand. Red poppy supporters, when they actually put words to emotions, claim white poppy wearers are making a political statement where one shouldn’t be – that wearing a red poppy doesn’t mean that you’re pro-war. But that’s a false equivalency. Just because the white poppy is anti-war, doesn’t mean that the red poppy is pro-war. Just because white poppy wearers abhor global levels of organized and sanctioned violence doesn’t mean they don’t respect and value the sacrifices of veterans. Such reflection is not a zero-sum thing: our hearts and memories are bigger than these trifles.

I wear a red poppy each year and not a white one. There’s nothing more to this than the fact that I haven’t seen any white poppies being distributed along my daily travels. I have reasons to wear both – red for family who has fought in wars, either to their death or with their lives spared. I also have family that was turned down when they tried to enlist because their services were needed elsewhere, such a rubber manufacturing factories that produced the very munitions the front line needed. I have family that fought for the good guys and the bad guys, and I have family that still have strong memories of living on rations and interacting with soldiers as civilians.

White Poppies Versus Red
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I have a container garden on my deck outside

2005-04-01 07:43:12 by tasmania

But I wish I had a plot of land for deeper ground. I have admired all types of gardens but I think my favorite is the cottage-y wildflower type of garden with a large variety of flowers and perennials. Here are some of the plants I would like to have in it:
sunflowers
anemones
lavender
tulips in the spring
amaranth
sweetpea crawling up the fence
a red bougainvillea in front of the house
a lemon tree
belladonna
strawberry plant
catnip
pink and white cosmos
a small herb garden
giant red poppies
chinese lanterns in the fall


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