Friday 11 November 2011: Happy 90th Birthday The Royal British Legion
I blipped a 12 month ago about why I always observe the two minutes silence on Armistice Day.
What I wasn't aware of until I bought this enamel poppy yesterday, that it was the 90th Poppy Appeal that the Royal British Legion had undertaken. The wearing poppies on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month actually started a year before in the United States. The Royal British Legion and the Haig Fund started the following year.
What dismays me though, is in recent times someone seems to use the poppy appeal to have a go at some organisation or other. Over the past few years we have seen attacks on supermarkets for not allowing poppy sellers outside their stores, health and safety zealots for banning the pins in case some one infects themselves from a pin prick, and this year FIFA for trying to impose a rule that was already in place.
The first two stories were undoubtedly blown out of all proportion, and the last story seemed to me to be far more of an attack on FIFA and it's malpractices, than anything to do with poppy wearing. Teams have played on Armistice Day before with no fuss at all, why this year does everyone from the heir to throne to the British Prime Minister want to kick up a stink.
To use such a noble and worthy cause, for a political or point scoring end, besmirches the memories of those for whom today is all about!
Hopefully next year we can all get back to what to day is all about.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae - 1919