In today’s social justice warrior society where everyone seems to get offended about everything, there comes a time and a place where every now and again, we need to put our foot down and stop the ridiculousness, and get back to good, old fashioned thinking. The cause that I am talking about is the ‘Peace Poppy’. There is a growing faction in the United Kingdom and in Canada, where during Remembrance Day celebrations, the tradition has been to wear a red poppy over your heart as a visual signal to the saying ‘Lest We Forget’. And with this year, being the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice, where no longer any veteran of the war to end all wars lives, we see a new crop of people who are refusing to remember what the poppy is all about. And instead, they’re trying to turn it into a political statement of their hatred and loathing towards war and conflict.
Look, I will be first to say that there isn’t a single war out there that’s justified. I’m not a fan of the thought of killing another person for political reasons. However, that being said, there is not a single person under the age of 40, that can comprehend what the world was like in the early 20th century. Where communism, fascism and naziism was radicalized around Europe and Asia. Sometimes, you, as a human being, no matter your nationality, have to stand up for what’s right, along with other human beings and save them from oppression, or in the case of the Jews in World War II, extinction. But this faction today is refusing to wear a red poppy because the red signifies bloodshed and a waste of life ripped apart by war. A wannabe politician in the Canadian province of Ontario, Laura Kaminker, wrote in a 2014 blog post that she refuses to wear a red poppy and will never. She is quoted as saying, “I wear my peace button on my jacket as always and wait for the collective brainwashing to blow over” Then went on to state, “When our masters give the signal, everyone can take off the fake poppy, made with prison labour, and create a bit more land fill. And another annual ritual of war glorification comes to a close.
“And the unfortunate part, is the ignorance is growing. George Santayana, one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers once wrote this extremely true statement, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Forgetting the tragedy and horrifying nightmares that were brought on by two great World Wars is something we as humankind, not ‘peoplekind’, should always remember. For if you forget the past, and don’t learn from your mistakes, how does one really know if they’re doing anything wrong? Look, the opposite side to this argument is this. Since the first Gulf War, we have been stuck in this military industrial complex where everything is about war. And frankly, people are sick of it. They’re sick of people dying. The Persian Gulf, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. It’s bloody mess, for sure. War has ravaged an entire area on earth, and for most of it, for no good reason, besides maybe oil. And anyone who condemns the original cause of the middle east, and the war on terror, well, maybe you need to stand in front of the troops instead of criticizing them behind their backs. The war on terror, after 9/11, in my opinion, was justified. They got Osama Bin Laden. The mission was accomplished. Time to get out. However, thousands of American and British, along with other coalition troops are still there. By the way, Bin Laden’s been dead for over seven years. So I do see the point. We, as a society, are sick and tired of seeing taxpayer money spent on the war machine, while there’s no money to build a new water treatment facility in Flint, Michigan, or help rebuild Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane, when Maria ripped through and destroyed the nation, killing over three thousand people. At this point in western civilized society, we should have solved things like children going to school without food, and being able to get a meal. We should have solved homelessness, or corrected most of it. There should be plenty of money to help veterans recover from injury and trauma like PTSD. But the war machine keeps rolling, and with that, the economy as well.
But when Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army, wrote ‘In Flanders Fields’, on May 3, 1915, the day after burying his best friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer who was killed during the second battle of Ypres. McCrae was sitting in the back of a medical field ambulance, and as he looked around his surroundings of this French farming community, he saw poppies everywhere. Red poppies. In the battle for Ypres, more than 20,000 men on both sides died, and their bodies fertilized the ground for the red poppies to flourish into the millions. That’s the purpose of the red poppy. These morons who say the red poppy glorifies war, and the military industrial complex, are nuts. Completely nuts.
The poppy is a symbol to remember where we came from and that there’s much more work to be done when it comes to fixing this planet. Humans aren’t nice. We are a rash bunch of people, who have a bunch of suits, who’d never send their own children to a battle ground, making decisions that have affected so many families. But these men, and women, know going in, that when they join the military, that they could be signing their death warrant, for the sake of protecting those who are voiceless. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, saying you’re willing to give your life, so someone else can continue on with theirs. It’s that statement that should not be forgotten. War is not pretty, nor is it fair. The white poppy is a signal of forgetting. It’s a symbol of ignorance covered by a peaceful protest. It’s a symbol that the people who wear it, have no clue that if things in the great wars turned out differently, how different their lives would be. I understand the cause, but I think the thought, the timing and the argument is pure ignorance on a small portion of the population that has no clue what the real world was, or is about.
For every soldier that has died in the last 118 years, the poppy is a sign of love and respect that we should never forget. Whether the soldier died in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or conflicts like the middle east, they all gave their lives for these social justice warriors have have their ignorant opinions heard. We forget that the soldiers didn’t want to be there. Most were so young, they never got to experience love, getting married, having a family of their own, or just living their own lives to the fullest extent. No. They decided to give their last breaths to people who are now starting spit in their faces because they don’t agree with what happened. Guess what? It’s because of them, that all of us have that right to a personal opinion. And we cannot forget that.
I will never forget what my grandfather told me. In our family, we never had anyone serve in the military. Reason being, when my grandfather and his brothers were drafted in Canada, they had three options, the war, the mines or the bush camps. My great grandfather escaped the Ukraine after watching his brother get killed by the Russians in the Bolshevik Revolution. He hated war. And when it came for time for three of his sons to be drafted, he begged them not to go overseas, because he’d seen the repercussions of war first hand. So they went into the bushes and mines instead. But my grandfather always taught me to pay respect, never forget, and to always thank a veteran for what we have today.
With Spaced Out Radio, we have a number of veterans from Vietnam and up to today, who listen to our show. And I am so thankful when they reach out and tell me they served. I’m able to do what I want, and talk about weird and strange things because of men and women like them. I’m able to live my dream on the radio because they took the time to fight for me, and my family. I’m eternally thankful to them. Talk to them, they’ll tell you war is hell. They’ll tell you it was the scariest time of their lives. They’ll tell you they lost friends. They’ll tell you it was horrific. But they’ll also tell you, they’d do it again, if it meant keeping this world safe. And with us being so enclosed on this planet in the west, in North America, that’s a message we can never forget. The world isn’t that big of a place if you think about it comparatively to the rest of the universe. We’re small. And one day, the hope is we can overcome the stupidity of war, diversify, and live in peace, and helping one another. But until that day comes, I’m glad to say there’s brave men and women who are willing to pay the ultimate price for my safety. And we should all be grateful for that.