Monday Reflection

9th November 2020

'the most famous symbol'

I love poppies,
they are one of my favourite flowers,
seeing their bright cheerful colour
along the banks of a motorway,
cheers my journey;
or out walking around
the cornfields watching
as they sway in the wind,
a sea of red.

group The red poppy
is the most
famous symbol
used to

those who sacrificed
their lives in
World War One and
conflicts that followed.

But do you know
why the poppy was chosen?

At the end of the first World War
there were thousands of deaths
on the battle field -
the fields of Flanders ran red
with their blood
and a great clear up took place.

The bodies were buried,
the earth looked raw,
scarred, brown.
The following Spring
the grass began to grow again
and later in that year
the fields once more shone red -
not with blood this time
but with thousands
of glowing poppies.

Poppy seeds can lay dormant
(sleeping) under the earth
for many years,
disturb them and they will
burst back into life.
The promised hope of resurrection,
a new life, a new start, new hope.

The Royal British Legion
is clear that the red poppy
is not a sign of support for
war and death.

When it was first adopted,
it represented mourning
and served as a pledge that
war must never happen again.
Indeed, the words "never again"
were emblazoned on the original design.

group However,
a number of
issues have
caused some
people to
turn to
the white poppy,
known as the 'Peace poppy',
they feel that the red poppy
glorifies war and conflict;
and symbolises remembrance
of British armed forces and
its allies rather than
enemies and innocent civilians
who also died in wars.

Some feel the red poppy
has become political,
and that politicians use it
to help justify war.

In Northern Ireland, for example,
it became regarded as a
Protestant Loyalist symbol
because of its connection with
British patriotism,"
the PPU website says.

The white poppy is handed out
by a charity called
Peace Pledge Union,
which promotes peace.

They say that it
commemorates people who died
in conflict,
but focuses on achieving peace
and challenging the way
we look at war.

The white poppy was designed
by the Co-operative Women's Guild
in 1933 and adopted
the following year by the PPU
as a symbol of anti-war
and pacifist sentiment.

"There are three elements
to the meaning of white poppies:
they represent remembrance
for all victims of war,
a commitment to peace
and a challenge to attempts
to glamorise or celebrate war,"
the PPU website says.

group A later
to the
poppies is

purple poppy
which was created in 2006 by
the charity Animal Aid,
the UK's oldest and
largest animal rights group,
in order to remember the
millions of animals that were
killed during the
First World War.

To honour the animals in
service today.

eight million horses,
donkeys, and pigeons
were killed in the
First World War.

Animals like horses,
dogs and pigeons were
often drafted
into the war effort,
and those that wear
the purple poppy feel
their service should
be seen as equal to
that of human service.

In particular,
many horses were killed
or injured in World War One.

Donations to the Purple Poppy Appeal,
which is organised by
the War Horse Memorial,
go to charities like
World Horse Welfare
and the animal charity,
Blue Cross.

In 2015, Animal Aid
founder Andy Smith
swapped the poppies
for a purple paw badge.

"Our aim was to make it clear
that animals used in warfare
are indeed victims, not heroes,"
said Smith.
The campaign was spearheaded
in 2016 by Murphy's Army,
a West Yorkshire
charity group for missing animals.

group The most
addition to
is the black poppy which has two
different meanings attached to it.
It is most commonly associated
with the commemoration of black,
African and Caribbean communities'
contribution to the war effort -
as servicemen and servicewomen,
and as civilians.

The campaign organisers
say that while they also
support the red poppy,
they feel that the black poppy
highlights this contribution
and the place of black,
African and Caribbean
communities' contributions
to the war effort.

The initiative,
titled "Black Poppy Rose,"
was launched in 2010
and aims to make the black poppy
a nation-wide symbol of remembrance.

"Whilst we do not wish to focus
on negative aspects of history,
we feel that it is important that
our ancestors are recognised for their dues,
of which many lost their lives
in the process,"
says the Black Poppy Rose.

'Blessed are the peacemakers
 for they shall be
 called children of God.

..... Matthew 5:9

What does the poppy mean to you?
What colour poppy do you wear
at this time?
Or do you choose not to wear one?
However you remember those who died
for our freedom at this time of year,
let us not forget
the greatest sacrifice, Jesus,
who went to the cross and
gave his life
that we might have eternal life.

Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one's life for one's friends.

..... John 15:13