Sunday, 13 November 2011

White poppy for peace and respect

Forgive the off topic nature of this post, please folks - it's Remembrance Sunday and I'd like to share my reasons for wearing the white poppy rather than a red one.

My Quaker faith includes a testimony to peace and nonviolence. But the nature of Quakerism is that nothing is forbidden or prescribed, and Quakers have no creeds. We all have to make our own choices.

In the two World Wars, a lot of Quakers were conscientious objectors. Many served with the Friends' Ambulance Unit to help care for battlefield casualties. But one or two fought. Robert Lawrence Smith, a lifelong Quaker, explains in his book "A Quaker Book of Wisdom" that he chose to fight in the American army during the Second World War because he felt that a lasting peace could not be built until the "unspeakable evil" of Nazism was removed.

So I don't have to wear the white poppy because I happen to be a Quaker. It's a matter of choice.

And I don't agree with those who say that to wear the white poppy is disrespectful to the armed forces and to those who've died in the service of their country.

My white poppy shows that I wish to honour and respect the memory of all the servicemen and women, and civilians, worldwide, who've lost their lives in conflict - but that I deplore the fact that they had to do so.

And for the same reason, through the year, I wear a white dove badge on my coat.

Because "I will never know how men can see the wisdom in a war". - Chris de Burgh

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