In defense of the white poppy -

In defense of the white poppy

Why I side with students who won’t wear the red poppy


Fred Chartrand/CP

Students at the University of Ottawa came under fire this week for supporting the white poppy campaign, a drive to get people to wear a white poppy rather than the traditional red one, on the grounds that the red poppy can be seen as a tacit support of war itself. Since white is traditionally associated with peace, the white poppy is meant to meant to support remembrance but with an emphasis on peace rather than war itself.

This piece in The Toronto Sun sneers at students for “hopping aboard” a “left wing” bandwagon. The Minister of Veterans Affairs jumped in too, calling the campaign “totally disrespectful.” Meanwhile, over at the National Post, Matt Gurney claims that the “very existence” of the campaign “is insulting by its implication that the red poppy glorifies war.”

Too bad. The red poppy does glorify war. And it has been so successful in doing so that it seems as though its supporters don’t even realize they are doing it. Celyn Dufay, the Ottawa student at the centre of this imbroglio is quite right in explaining, simply enough, “we want to work for peace.”

Here’s what people like Dufay are up against. Gurney, for example, who writes:

there are still Canadians today who remember the Second World War, even fought in it. There are also thousands of Canadians with us today who served in Afghanistan, and countless Canadians who loved or knew someone who went to that far-off land and never returned. There are Canadians who died in peacetime, in accidents at home and abroad, while standing guard in Western Europe across from the might of the Soviet Red Army, or while doing their best to bring peace to war-torn lands abroad.

If I may presume to speak for the students in question, I would suggest that it is the thinly-veiled celebration of the martial spirit that they find troubling. Gurney, for instance, invokes the romantic image of the poor loved ones left at home, as if our forces did not deprive others of their loved ones, and adds more romance with the fairy tale diction of the “far off land.”  No mention of that far off land called Somalia, though, where Canadian soldiers disgraced our nation in 1993 with their murders and lies. No mention of the host of scandals that have plagued the forces. No mention of the forces standing on guard when the military assisted in rounding up Japanese immigrants during the Second World War. Oh, and no mention that the mighty Red Army of the Soviets didn’t seem so bad to us when we allied with it and turned half of Europe over to its brutal, oppressive regime.

But Gurney’s view is nuanced compared to that of the Royal Canadian Legion, which markets the red poppies and which has threatened to sue over the white poppy campaign. As the Legion’s web site has it:

it is not only to honour the fallen that we observe Remembrance Day each and every year. As part of our observance, we also acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of both the Veterans including currently serving.

Again, the rhetoric of heroism is clear. Deceased soldiers are not dead but “fallen.” No one went to war because of wartime propaganda that stoked racism or shamed them into it, but rather because of their “courage.” And no talk of the needless slaughter of millions of pawns in power struggles of empires. No, only talk of “sacrifice” as though the soldiers wanted to die. How can the Legion and its supporters look anyone in the eye and claim not to glorify war?

Perhaps there are times when war is necessary and that may require men and women who are willing to go to war. But even if there is, doing that which is necessary is not necessarily heroic. There are such things as necessary evils. The white-poppy students are suggesting war isn’t one of them. It’s quite within the bounds of civilized discourse for students to suggest that there is nothing heroic about signing up to kill, being trained to kill, and then going and killing. This is not to dishonour the memory of the dead, but to rethink it. In this view, the dead soldier is not a hero. He’s a victim.

So I applaud Dufay and company for their stand. If we are to work for peace, we have to challenge our conventional thinking about war. That’s what education—and white poppies—are all about.

Todd Pettigrew is an associate professor of English at Cape Breton University.


In defense of the white poppy

  1. No one more fervently desires peace than those who wear the uniform of our nation. Mr. Pettigrew’s opinion is as ridiculous as the notion of an English professor who cannot differentiate between “martial” (the correct word) and marshal (the word used in his column). Thanks for the giggle, though . . .

    • Such an error would fall on the editor of this publication, not the writer. It’s quite telling when one has to resort to logical fallacies to try and discredit an opinion. Fail.

      • In such a short article I would suggest the error lies with the author who should have read the edited article and as an English professor pointed out any grammar errors before printing.I also agree that while Mr. Pettigrew’S opinion is distasteful it is his RIGHT to express it in the freedom given by all who died to protect it.

    • Right. Because typos are the issue here. And for what it’s worth, the word has been spelled various ways over the years, including “marshal”.

      • Good for you, Mr. Pettigrew. Too many people are blinded by the simplicity of the pro-war propagandists’ stance and associate anything other than obeisance to the establishment with cowardice and collusion. Remembering the Wars for what they were, shameful and tragic atrocities, instead of glorifying them is the true duty of a modern, enlightened populace. Too little has been said in the defense of a movement that dares to prioritize peace over sentimentality and the romanticized image of the horrors of war.

      • I’m sure as an ex-forces veteran, most of my peers will agree that none of us have ever thought that the red poppy glorifies war. Having seen personally the heartache and suffering brought about by war or armed conflicts my hope is that we stay safe and provide a haven for those who have had to endure. I see the red poppy for what it is; the first flower to grow on an old battlefield to show that life is still precious and provide a symbol of peace. Have white poppy day on another day of the year, but to have it on the same day is quite wrong.

    • What better time than to share the desire for peace with a white poppy. BUT to be offended by this is as offensive as misinterpreting the red poppy. However to nit pick on another’s miss spelled word shows another lack of understanding. It seems to me most responses lack insight and understanding, it is time we all stand up and broaden our views and look deeply into all that stands between us and understanding.

  2. Mr. Pettigrew’s clear lack of understanding of what the Red Poppy stands for, is painfully obvious here. And of course he as a right to take such a vocal potion. All brought to him on a silver platter with the blood of the veterans, long past and more recently. Mr. Pettigrew, the next time a tyrant in the world tramples on the rights and lives of people, perhaps you could find the courage to do something about it, instead of criticizing those who brought the freedoms you enjoy. Stop reading fiction and try some history. Let me get you stared with something from Winston Churchill.

    “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”

    • Karl,

      Well said… however lets also not forget any writings by Prime Minister Chamberlain; we may as well show the good professor how effective words and good feelings alone were as well.

    • I don’t remember when we were being invaded our when any of our rights were threatened by wars in Europe and the middle East. We sent soldiers into conflicts that weren’t ours and often took away domestic rights to do it. This argument is what people tell us to make us feeling better about killing people and having somebody’s family member killed

      • Yes, because when evil people or bullies do terrible things we should just ignore them because they aren’t doing them to us.

      • First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Socialist.

        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
        Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

        – Martin Niemoller

  3. Reading this article saddened me. To suggest that our soldiers who have been sent to war are not heroes but rather looking for a reason to fight is highly offensive. The men and we women we honor on November 11 went to fight to protect people. As much as we would like to avoid going to war the actions of individuals and governments have resulted in our troops being sent overseas to help end wars instigated by cruel and aggressive groups around the world.
    The University of Ottawa students and Todd Pettigrew need to be reminded that without our brave troops their rights and freedom may not exist.

    • I don’t want war at any time. Life would be fantastic if everyone knew how to get along and treat each other respectfully. Our soldiers CHOSE the RED POPPY as a sign of Remembrance. Let’s respect THEIR choice. This tradition does not need to change.

    • “Would NOT Exist ” it is pure blindness to think Hitler would have
      stopped at Europe.

  4. The Red poppy represents sacrifice and remembrance for those who were killed in the wars. It does not glorify war it represents loss and the product of war. If the students want to promote peace then by all means do so. Choose another icon, one that does not diminish the sacrifices of Canadians who gave their lives. The white dove is a perfect symbol . If they want to stop wars they need to focus on what starts them and who benefits from them. I think they are smart enough to figure out why we will always have them, If not I would be more than happy to educate them in this area.

  5. While not opposed to free speech on subjects of the speaker’s choice, I resent this most un-original choice of a ‘white’ poppy. To attempt to change the meaning of a nationally recognized symbol of Remembrance is another attempt to change the Canada that we are. That this group, and it’s supporters such as yourself, have chosen to desecrate this symbol at this time of year is the lowest form of sensational attention gathering and you should truly be ashamed of yourselves. Let this group select another symbol and let them earn the right to display it. The poppy should be a protected symbol along the lines of our national flag. That’s the very least that we owe those who made the greatest sacrifice and have FALLEN in the name of your and my freedom.

  6. Martial and marshal are homophones, not the same word. It is not a question of different spellings over the years. See I’m assuming since the correct word is now written in the article that this has been acknowledged.

    But to the main point, thank you for the well-written article. I don’t agree myself with your viewpoint, but like to hear all sides. The red poppy campaign puts some of the money back into the campaign, but much of it, with the increasing age of our older veterans, goes towards community support for them. Does the money for the white poppy go towards a world peace organization of some kind, I’m assuming?

  7. Martial – adjective – “of, suitable for, or associated with war or the armed forces” eg. martial music

    Marshal – verb – “to arrange in proper order; set out in an orderly manner; arrange clearly” eg. to marshal facts; to marshal one’s arguments

    Completely different. Typos may not be important. But using the wrong form of a similar sounding word can change the tone or meaning of a work completely.

    So Martial is used here correctly: “celebration of the martial spirit that they find troubling”

    As for the poppy debate, I will proudly wear a red poppy. I choose not to support the White Poppy campaign because the red poppy already serves to act as a reminder of the horrors of war and a warning. It IS a symbol for peace as those that remember the tragedy of war are less likely to fuel it in the future, peace.

  8. Its unfortunate that our students are taught and impressed upon by individuals like Mr. Pettigrew who clearly has no real understanding of history or warfare and is unqualified to provide comment to this discussion. As an example, “that far off land called Somalia” was not a harbour of peace when Cdn Soldiers murdered Shidane Arone. The full story of the mission is not told by our professor, such as the frustrations of having to deal with warlords stealing and looting, the trauma of listening to women having their genitals mutilated at night, of hearing people murdered outside the wire at night, of having individuals breaching the wire and no mention of the firefight at the Mogadishu dockyards between Cdn soldiers and Somalia warlords on 18 June 1993. No mention of the fact that the Japanese internment during WWII was a world wide phenominon also commited by the Americans and what about the Japanese intering and executing millions of Chinese, Koreans and Allied soldiers? Professor, you failed to mention that the Soviet Union lost 20 million people in their actions against the German Army. Yes, the Allies sided with them at the time, but the Allies were also subject to Stalin’s duplicity and if it wasn’t for this uncomfortable alliance, Germany, Italy and Japan would have won WWII. The Allies did not give the Russians Eastern Europe, it was taken. Finally Mr. Pettigrew, and I wont call you Professor because as far as I’m concerned, your unqualified, you don’t have to deal with anxiety, depression and flashbacks like I do. You don’t have to deal with nightmares, suicidal thoughts, feelings of helplessness, loss of legs and limbs, skin disorders, burns and other traumas. Rememberance Day is my day to think about what I’ve given up for you. Rememberance Day is my day to think about the friends I’ve lost and for their families to remember their sacrifice. Rememberance Day is already a Day of peace and its that way because people of me have provided it to you. On this Rememberance Day, feel free to wear a white poppy if you wish but remember its your soldiers, airmen and sailors who’ve provided you the opportunity to do so. Freedom comes with a heavy price.

  9. Wow…I never though in my life time I would see such a backwards view on things. Red Poppy means to honour the sacrifice of so many so that someone that has absolutely no clue what the word sacrifice means has the right to do so. I am a Vet, I proudly served to protect dignity and human rights of the oppressed. My brothers feed and gave water to the starving, healed the sick and wounded, provided the skills and technology to those without so they could learn to have for themselves. What have you done Mr. Pettigrew?

    Taking this “rag” of my reading list today….I am amazed at the ignorance that there are people in this country would politicize for their own misguided agenda something so solemn as to recognize the sacrifice these men and women made. So again, what have you done Mr. Pettigrew?

    • Had the Rideau Institute picked a white dove, no problem. Had they done anything other than deliberately choose to be provocative with the full intention of dishonouring our fallen, the very people who’s lives were the cost of Rideau’s freedom of speech, this wouldn’t be a topic of debate. None would disagree with the dreams and hopes of what the white poppy purports to stand for. To disrespect our fallen comrades, those who made it back, those who served and still serve, to me is a sacrilege that has earned the author and Rideau my eternal enmity. No problem with your cause and your principles. Big problem with your execution. Go find your own imagery, leave ours alone.

  10. I do not agree with this “White Poppy”, the red has been a symbol of Remembrance day for many,many years. Why not just leave it alone!
    Worry about finishing their education, and not trying to change what’s not worth changing. So interested in “peace” why not get more involved with actual groups, instead of trying to get credit for changing poppies from red to white.
    Too many Canadians are used to the red Poppy and what it symbolizes, a few university kids aren’t going to change that!

  11. As the niece of a WW1 vet, the daughter of a WW2 vet and the x of a Korean War vet, I wear a White Poppy.

    I wear it because it also commemorates the “collateral damage”, also known as human beings, those wars killed.

    In the case of the Afghan War, the symbol should be an Opium Poppy,

    As US Marine Major General, Smedley Butler wrote long ago, “War is a racket.”

  12. As the niece of a WW1 vet, the daughter of a WW2 vet and the x of a Korean War vet, I wear a White Poppy.

    I wear it because it also commemorates the “collateral damage”, also known as human beings, those wars killed.

    In the case of the Afghan War, the symbol should be an Opium Poppy, since the supply of heroin has been greatly amplified with the help of the US Military.

    As US Marine Major General, Smedley Butler wrote long ago, in 1933: ” WAR is a racket. It always has been

    “It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

    “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

    “In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

    “How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

    “Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

    “And what is this bill?

    “This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

    “For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.”

    • This is an excellent response, Judy, extremely well thought out, and I would like to add that the white poppy campaign actually goes back to the 1920s. It is not news, it is not being newly created by a bunch of University “kids,” but was created alongside the red poppy by a very thoughtful group of WWI vets who initially came up with the idea that the red poppy was too incendiary at a time when the world was spreading the message “Never Again,” while those who were still reeling from the trenches saw the signs of the European powers gearing up for yet more war – and we can now see in hindsight that they were absolutely right.

  13. I”m the mom of a veteran soldier and I support the white poppies….it is think to rethink war…..Haven’t we repeated the same mistakes enough

  14. As a veteran I submit that the RED POPPY must have it’s time every year for our fallen heroes and survivors of war, for ever! It does not promote war, it is a symbol of reflection, respect and thanks. White poppies should be worn for anytime after Rememberance Day. All year for all I care!! Nobody more than a soldier wants peace. Don’t use our day to promote yours. You disrespect. Shame Todd P, Paul H.

  15. Nice to see that those in agreement with Prof Pettigrew are equally misguided (not to mention weak on their knowledge of English). My parents survived the “Hunger Winter” (Google it, kids) thanks to the generosity of Canadian troops, who shared what they could of their own rations to feed a population starved by the Nazis. Anyone who thinks that the red poppy “glorifies war” is a fool. What it honours is the sacrifice made by thousands of men and women, some of whom were not much older than the students being brainwashed by Mr. Pettigrew and his ilk today, who realized that there are times when one needs to stand up for one’s beliefs, even if doing so puts one at risk of harm or death. To repay that debt is why I served in the Reserves, and why I will continue to wear a red poppy each fall. As for those who wish to hand out or wear white poppies, Stalin had a name for those folks . . . useful idiots. I would quibble with the first of those two words, but am content to let the term stand on it’s merits.

    • Anthony Bakker, I’m sorry for your family. My grandfather was drafted into the German Luftwaffe as an air defence gunner and he spent the entire war trying to survive the Russian front. He had no love for war or Nazi’s and made it home at age 42 to his family who lived in slate mines to survive the bombings. Unfortunately, I sometimes believe that the weak and the innocent are easily led by these pompous fools who think that peace just simply exists. They should talk to our relatives who survived or our friends who serve and die or the folks in the Balkans who’s modern society went mental in the 1990s.

  16. Wow, so much vitrol here. Doesn’t anyone find it ironic that we’re having a “war” about the colour of poppies, and are focusing more on a symbol of remembrance, rather than why we are remembering? Also, for everyone complaining about “hijacking a tradition,” England has had the white poppy for 80 years:

    The women who founded the white poppy lost their husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. They don’t disrespect the fallen at all. Unfortunately, the Canadian version of this has morphed into something rather misguided. I disagree that the red poppy glorifies war. I do think that many wearers and the media glorify it, and we’ve lost sight of what Remembrance Day is. As a famous author once said about the US equivalent of Veterans’ Day:

    “I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

    It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

    Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

    So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”

    It seems like we’re making Remembrance Day less scared than Armistice Day with this petty war over poppies.

  17. Interesting article. I don’t think I would blame anyone here, though. The uOttawa students are obviously well-meaning, and they have a point that white does symbolize peace and that is how we should remember November 11th. However, I simply have to agree with the comment of D Morris: that a poppy is “the first flower to grow on an old battlefield to show that life is still precious and provide a symbol of peace”. That’s the reason I’ve always thought we were a poppy for. The poppies that grow in Flanders Fields aren’t white–they are naturally red. So what?

    As for how soldiers and war veterans should be viewed, what their intentions are, if they are heroes or victims, etc… that is not my place to say. I don’t have any close relations with these people, nor do I particularly wish to join the Forces myself, but I still respect the people that do. We’ve had the notion drilled into our heads that veterans brought us our freedom, they fight for our rights, and devote their lives to service for our country, and I’m not about to dispute that. But of course I think that the very idea of war is something that constantly needs to be re-evaluated and our governments should realize that funneling billions of dollars into often just killing-missions (not that all are) isn’t ALWAYS the only/best option.

  18. This is an excellent article. I’m Canadian, but living in England right now and are many people who are shunning the red poppy. That includes many veterans, and there is an organisation called “Veterans for Peace”. A good article here regarding the red poppy and the British Legion here:

    The white poppy proceeds in the UK currently go to a charity set up to provide advice and information on the causes of war and violence and peaceful resolutions. It was inspired by the UN International Decade for a culture of peace and nonviolence for the for the children of the world. The Trust initiates and support projects and resources for teachers, parents and students in schools here, and their resources are used on the National Curriculum. That seems like a worthwhile cause to me.

  19. It seems that Canada is becoming full of ignorant hypocrites. They see war as a bad thing so anything attached to it must be labeled as “BAD” in the eyes of these hypocrites. They can’t see past the reasons for our involvements and seem to think that for what ever reason we should never have taken part. They do not realize that if not for the veterans involvements, this country would not be the same. We could have lost our freedom we enjoy today if not for these veterans. There are countries overseas who believe we should all perish because we do not share the same opinions. These countries would rather see every Canadian decapitated or desecrated because of our religious, democratic beliefs, and freedom to live how we choose. They have tried and in some cases succeeded to take away our pride. Yet these same hypocrites believe that we should do nothing and stay peaceful. Little do the hypocrites know that while some of these nations were plotting to exterminate us, there were guardians in the midst keeping them safe. Some of these guardians paid the ultimate sacrifice so that these hypocrites can live to protest another day. The red poppy does not signify war. If it did, it would be used by all nations more as a rank. The red poppy signifies the guardians of war. The ones who keep us safe. The ones who allowed us our freedom and are still fighting to maintain this freedom. The ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that the hypocrites can protest without getting bombed or shot by their own government. The white poppy is just another form of protest. It is a slap in the face to the red poppy but if not for the red poppy, there would be no white poppy. So thank you to the hypocrites for the big slap in the face to the ones who gave you your freedom. Not only should you be ashamed of yourselves, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t stand behind your troops and veterans, feel free to stand in front of them.”

  20. Without the red poppy there could be no white poppy.


    It is the Soldier, not the minister
    Who has given us freedom of religion.

    It is the Soldier, not the reporter
    Who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the Soldier, not the poet
    Who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
    Who has given us freedom to protest.

    It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
    Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

    It is the Soldier, not the politician
    Who has given us the right to vote.

    It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
    Who serves beneath the flag,
    And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
    Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    • Ron’s response requires no further explanation…., it says it all! Well done Ron!

    • This is exactly the kind of thing the article is talking about. You’ve provided the perfect example of the kind of romanticized image of war that some people think we need to re-think. Every one of those statements is overblown and exaggerated, painting the soldier as almost godlike- the very source of everything we think we are today, while taking “the protester” who is also trying to do good in the world as someone who hates his country (again giving more value than needed to patriotism, which is cleeeeaaaaarly a value of the soldier). THIS is much more offensive than simply wearing a plastic flower of the wrong colour and asking people to think critically about tradition.

  21. The red poppy does not celebrate war! Todd, you have a VERY warped view of things. The red poppy signifies an act of remembrance. Remembrance for those who laid down their lives to ensure you had the freedom of speech to spread your warped views. So many gave so much for YOU! And you, a moron, refuse to, or are to stunned to realized this. I will not address you as Mr. or as professor as you do not warrant the courtesy! I served my country, YES SERVED, by choice. A choice based on the fact I love my country and wanted to ensure her safety, my family’s safety, and sadly, YOUR safety. My two children are fourth generation soldiers who will continue to ensure your safety. as did my father before me and my grandfather before him. I have nothing against your white poppy, it is a decent idea, BUT NOT ON MY DAY! Not on the day we HONOUR those who FELL, yes, fell to ensure you are free. Soldiers don’t go to war for glory, soldiers go to war when governments fail us, soldiers go to war to protect our way of life and they go because they must, not because they want to. No soldier wants war, we would love it if war did not exist. I am so sick and tired of revisionists, of people who look at things wearing blinders, of “educated” people who know not what of they speak. Give it up Todd! You should give up your job as well, which would be nothing compared to what soldiers gave for YOU!

    • “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” Douglas MacArthur

      Took the words right out of my mouth. So I’m going to add few more. If it weren’t for civic minded people such as those in military, police, firefighters etc. These people protect you while you sleep. What would you do if you ever needed help if you were let say captured by Somali pirates while on a vacation cruise? Robbed at a bank and held hostage? Peace and liberty without a means of protecting it means you won’t have it for long.

      I can’t believe your a professor passing your views along. Btw, Todd have your ever been to Holland? Have you ever told them you were Canadian? If you haven’t you should go. To this day, the Dutch are extra nice to Canadians because they are genuinely grateful. WHy? I’m sure you know we liberated them in WW2. The Allies didn’t bother but we went out of our way and did. The point is you live off the karma (or past decisions, fruits of labour) of deceased Canadian soldiers.

  22. Mr. Pettigrew, the simple act of creating a white poppy is the same as making a statement that the red poppy is bad, or that it represents something it was never intended to represent.
    If the Peace Protestors want to make a statement, they should come up with their own symbol, like a white dove on a pin. I may even wear one and support their ideals.
    A white poppy is so offensive to humanity, it makes my heart hurt, and my mind cringe with pain when I think of what it really means to REMEMBER.
    Even though I am certain their intentions were good, I feel very sorry for anyone who thinks the white poppy is anything but a form of theft for publicity. I hope it is abolished forever, and the creator apologizes for their ignorance.

    • KJ – That would be fairly difficult; the creators are a group of family of WWI vets, and the white poppy dates from the 1920s. So I doubt you’ll get your wish.

  23. This makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. My grandfather fought in WWII and he was one of the lucky ones that made it home. He has since passed but I am sure that he is turning in his grave that these students are promoting wearing a white poppy instead of a red one because the red poppy promotes war. How wrong they are the red poppy is worn to show respect to the men and women that have and continue to stand up for our freedom. If they choose to wear their white poppy to symbolize peace that is fine but to show a blatant disrespect to the veterans, shame on them!

  24. White poppies are an insult to veterans, they fought for our freedom from Nazism. They didn’t ask to fight but they did from a sense of duty. War is horrific but sometimes it is necessary, two of my great Uncles gave their lives for the lives that we are able to live now. To all of you Canadians out there who are not white, blue eyed and blonde you would not be here now if it wasn’t for our veterans. Oh and by the way Todd Pettigrew if it wasn’t for our veterans you would be an associate profeesor of GERMAN not English

  25. The poppy should be half red and half white to balance the spectrum of war.


    Give me your people
    Any age will do
    I will fill them full of vanities
    Teach them
    Not to think
    How to hate
    How to kill
    I can make them heroes
    Glory for your memories
    Hail your nations
    Prayer your gods
    Mindless feed my appetite
    I am war
    I am death

    Remember me

  26. Lance Usher: Soldiers go to war at the instruction of their governments who always claim defense of our way of life when, historically in fact, mostly it has been to defend our financial/political/ideological interests – not because we are under any real military threat to our way of life. There has not been a valid “self defense to a real threat” since World War II. From Korea to Vietnam to the Middle East all these wars been without the slightest threat to “our way of life.” They have been about pursuing our financial interests or imposing our arrogant view that we have some kind of god-given dominion over ideas.
    Still, thank you for doing what I believe you truly believed was necessary. I have no criticism of you or any other veteran.

  27. “Still, thank you for doing what I believe you truly believed was necessary.”

    Bill, what a pithy, condescending comment.

    • Aric: That was not my intention, so I apologize. I was trying to make sure my point was not seen as a personal criticism of Lance Usher. Clearly, poorly worded. Again, I apologize.

  28. where can I get a white poppy?

    • At the coward store…….

  29. Why would a social group espousing world peace, the noblest of causes, provoke such a conflict by usurping Remembrance Day as the time to sound their clarion? Though certainly the goal is beyond discredit, the manner of advancement seems quite like a call to arms, the first volley coming with a wave of white poppies, scattering like parachutes over a pre-dawn Normandy countryside.

    I find it sad that the red poppy is erroneously encumbered with the notion of glorifying war, for that has never been the way I understood its symbology. We hardly need a flower and a special day to do that, do we? I learned decades ago that Remembrance Day is to remember those who consciously committed to defense of our principles, beliefs, and freedoms because their sacrifice was their proof of that commitment. It is so we remember those fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and the fact that we are fortunate enough to have citizens who would, at great personal cost, chose to help.

    And the questions, why a white poppy and not the widely recognized symbol for peace? Have we forgotten the white dove? And why this time of year if not a strategy to piggyback on national public attention to Remembrance Day? Diminish the remembering by turning up the volume on peace. Increase the “catch rate” by taking advantage of the media exposure. I don’t know of any streaker at the ceremonies I have attended, but this movement, in contrast to its in its symbology and timing has a similar effect.

    Some may contend the end justifies the means. For what nobler cause is there than a culture of peace? The end is beyond reproach. It is the means that provoke rebuke. The frenzy of media exchanges between polarized camps and the atmosphere of tension detracting from reason all hauntingly echo a pseudo battle. This absurdity calls loudly for George Carlin. “Fighting for peace is like. . .”

    Bring back the dove, pick a different day, and I’m in. On November 11, I’m busy.

  30. There’s nothing wrong with the white poppy itself, its the time they chose to make it public. The red poppy does not glorify war, it is the symbol of the sacrifice men and women have made and are making with no obligation to do so.

    By distributing the white poppy now all their doing is trying to hyjack a single day for veterans which is disrespectful. Hand out the white poppy in feburary and nobody would care, its nothing more then a publisity stunt for a handful of ignorent children.

  31. The challenge itself is what seems to be making people so angry. And there are different kinds of challenges present.

    If this outrage over the use of the symbol was balanced on the rhetoric of copyright, for example, the threat to its legitimacy would be too great. And so it is instead the symbol of the white poppy is reformed into a brand of co-option that disrespects, that threatens to “hijack” the proceedings and conversation. This allows the Legion to keep the threat of infringement in the background without needing to get too deep into the details about how this affects them monetarily.

    The second challenge that some supporters of the white poppy make, that has caused so many calls of disrespect, is the claim that there is a tie between the red poppy and war (or something not necessarily tied to peace, anyway). Now, is this necessarily true? Well, people have attempted to undermine the white poppy as a symbol, an unnecessary symbol (because the red poppy apparently carries the same messages, present in the McCrae poem), by calling back to “In Flander’s Fields”. Let’s look at the poem:

    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

    If the red poppy is necessarily associated to this poem, and if we’re using only the poem as an argument to prove or disprove the association of the red poppy to war, then I see the above stanza as making the point pretty clearly. There is a long history of war poetry that does not ask us to “take up [the] quarrel with [any] foe”. And, if the poem were actually as important as it seems in this conversation, I would suggest that white poppy supporters are really not interested in taking up any quarrel, or regarding anyone as a foe, or being responsible for this torch.

    Of course, the poem, even though it’s always evoked in these debates against the white poppy, doesn’t constitute the totality of the conversation. The use of the red poppy doesn’t hinge on how McCrae describes our role in keeping up this fight, even if it is the source of the red poppy as a symbol. The point is not that the red poppy absolutely and inherently carries messages that are pro-war (the ceremonies, ties to the Legion, the militarization of society, nationalism, etc, do all that just fine). The point is that the white poppy extends the conversation beyond the borders that have been erected by very deliberate means from people with very specific points of view.

    I think the symbol of the white poppy is an anxious step in moving the conversation toward building relationships of peace, but there is definitely much more work to be done when we consider the Remembrance Day ceremonies themselves (to name one of many things). Any challenge to a national mythos, let alone a copyrighted symbol supported (economically, politically, etc) by the government, will be problematic. And rightfully so, and thankfully so.

    I wear a white poppy and I’m glad to do it. My fear is that it will never be untied from its (deliberate) misinterpretation as antagonism.

  32. Lack of medical funding, poor mental health services and cutting veteran pensions hurt veterans a hell of a lot more than the color of a poppy. Most people need to get a reality check on this issue. A lot of people who see the red poppy as a pure and quasi-holy symbol do not seem to be as vocal when the government or the military discards their soldiers/veterans. As for the “freedom” to wear a white poppy, isn’t that why the armed forces all went to war in the first place? (using the VA’s own rhetoric)

  33. wear both if you feel the need to be argumentative about this….wouldn’t that be the peaceful thing to do? anyone arguing and showing distaste is the reason the red poppy has blood all over it…stop being the cartesian fool and dichotomizing everything into a war….war of words….war of humans….this is ignorance at its finest….i will wear both and support both…in hopes we can find peace today! blessings to all

  34. Only cowards will wear a white poppy! Those that would of looked the other way when a fellow man needs help or country. The white poppy wearing people believe if you do nothing in a crisis all will be good! Look at France in ww2 or Poland lets be peaceful and see what happens war is war it sucks but the replacement of red with white is a disgrace to the men and women that were killed during conflicts or protecting others.

  35. This article is a load of poppycock.

    It states to be “In defense of the white poppy” yet only has 2 lines dealing with the white poppy.

    Everything else is a frothing attack of the Red Poppy and their misguided perception of what they think it symbolizes.

  36. Today’s society is going to hell in a hand basket! Political correctness is replacing common sense. Get your eyes off your cell phones and wake up or it will be too late. The red poppy is worn because it signifies peace not war.

  37. The students who are protesting the “color” of a poppy are as NAIVE as they are UNINFORMED! No I am not a veteran; but both my Father and my Uncle served in WW2. My Uncle was a radio operator aboard a British destroyer; and he was the very first radio operator to receive a communique that announced the end of that war ( he had it framed, and his Son ( my cousin) still has it to this day!) The “red” color in no way PROMOTES war—if anything it reminds us of the huge cost in terms of HUMANITY and what it does to those who survived the experience!! I pray that my sons never have to answer the call to duty! And I ALSO pray for those who have——and never returned! God bless them for making our world a safer place! On November 11th go down to the Rememberance Day Parade and take time to talk to a veteran as I have—Thank them for their service to their country—AND for the freedoms you enjoy today!! Because if it wasn’t for them we would live in a VERY different world!!

  38. The symbol of the poppy was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. The poem, while the product of an early WW1 context, challenges generations of readers to remember, and not break faith with, those who died in combat. Would they want to be remembered as mislead victims? This iconic symbol does not glorify war or even heroism, just humble sacrifice–the ultimate sacrifice. As the son of a WW2 veteran, I suspect that if the children of Himmler, Goebbels, Goering and others were in charge right now, this discussion would not even be close to happening. The right to wear a white poppy or write articles in support of them was bought with the lives of brave soldiers. So wear your white poppies with whatever conviction you can muster, backed up by whatever fine sounding arguments you can declare to be logical. I will support our surviving veterans and their wives by proudly wearing a red poppy, and not “break faith” with those who paid for my freedom to write this. Any effort to promote peace should not cause division; if it does, then it is inherently not peaceful as an inspiration for peace. Veterans fought for peace, not to glorify war, or their own heroism. I’m confident most of them would even support your right to wear or defend the white poppy. They might also suggest that this white poppy generation is addicted to attention-seeking–the incessant need to tell the world about every move, idea, plan or feeling it has, in order to feel any sense of connection, self-verification, self-worth, or self-importance. They would consider many of us to be deluded, if not brainwashed, because we can so easily ruin our lives, sometimes before they really get started. Perhaps there is a latent guilt or shame that cannot relate to sacrifice in war, because of our squandered freedom to create the white poppy; therefore, those who fought for your right to be so seriously self-deceived are sad for you, as they witness your feeble efforts to discredit their honour.

  39. I wear a RED POPPY for many reasons. I wear it in rememberance of my maternal grandfather who received a paternal beating for having the audacity to go to the POW camp and beg them for food. I wear it for that maternal greatgrandfather who died on the battlefield of WWI … on the wrong side. I wear the poppy in the rememberance of my maternal grandmother’s family who were “cleansed” in the fire of the ovens for being Romany. I wear it for my paternal grandfather (Engineer) who biked accross Italy as a “D-Day Dodger” and literally begged his wife to send him food as he was being hosted by a Dutch family who were starving but were so happy to finally be free to choose.
    I wear it for the PEACEKEEPERS who have died (mysteriously, no ramp ceremony, brought Home in the dark of night, like it was shameful to have died in the cause of PEACE).

    Canadian Peacekeeping Missions

    UNEF I United Nations Emergency Force 1956–1967
    ONUC United Nations Operation in the Congo 1960–1964
    UNTEA/UNSF United Nations Temporary Executive Authority /United Nations Security Force (West New Guinea, Indonesia) 1962–1963
    UNFICYP United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus 1964-
    UNEFME (aka UNEF II) United Nations Emergency Force, Middle East 1973–1979
    UNDOF United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Israel/Syria) 1974-
    UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon 1978
    MFO Multinational Force and Observers (Sinai, Egypt) 1981-
    UNTAG United Nations Transition Assistance Group (Namibia) 1989–1990
    MINURSO United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara 1991-
    UNTAC United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia 1992–1993
    UNOSOM I United Nations Operation in Somalia I April 1992-December 1992
    UNITAF Unified Task Force December 1992-May 1993
    UNPROFOR United Nations Protection Force
    (Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina) 1992–1995
    UNOSOM II United Nations Operation in Somalia II May 1993-March 1995
    UNMIH United Nations Mission in Haiti 1993–1996
    UNAMIR United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda 1993–1996
    UNCRO United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation 1994–1996
    UNPREDEP United Nations Preventive Deployment Force 1995–1999
    UNMIBH United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1995–2000
    UNSMIH United Nations Support Mission in Haiti 1996–1997
    UNTMIH United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti 1997
    MIPONUH United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti 1997–2000
    MINURCA United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic 1998–2000
    INTERFET International Force for East Timor 1999–2000
    UNMIK United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo 1999–2002
    UNAMSIL United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone 1999–2005
    MONUC United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo 1999–
    UNTAET United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor 2000–2002
    UNMEE UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea 2000
    MINUSTAH UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti 2004
    UNMIS United Nations Mission in Sudan 2005-
    UNAMID African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur 2009-

    (I don’t agree with Somolia being here as it was always intended to be a PEACEMAKING and not peacekeeping.)
    I wear it for those most vulnerable. I wear it for those who have no freedom to choose. I wear it for those who answer the call to GO AND HELP OTHER PEOPLE in distress. Yes, “the old men” sit behind their desks and direct “the war”. But it is the trooper/”airman”/sailor who does the work and looks into the face of “the enemy” and sees him- or herself. It is the trooper, airman and sailor who looks at the devastation of “military necessity” in the faces of the children forced to sell their bodies to make money to try and feed their families when prices soar 2000% (yes THOUSAND) because some “old man” felt he was justified in taking away peoples choices.

    Why do so many people in CANADA feel that there should be NO HEROES period full stop. Why do we as a society feel that our time is so precious that we can’t take the 2 minutes to remember that WAR IS STILL GOING ON. That is the last remembrance I have EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    To usurp the red poppy with a white poppy … you can say that it is not to shame anyone, that it is only to redirect the conversation. But how would you feel if I sent you 3 white feathers? Would you even understand what it meant? White is the colour of peace. White is the colour of cowardice. White is the colour of death.

  40. WOW! Seriously? Now I can see where our Education System is truly failing us and we are graduating so many students with no concept of reality, nor history.

    Todd Pettigrew, hate to burst your bubble, but I associate white with two things: cowardice and surrender. I associate the White Poppy with the Opium Trade. None of these are associated with peace in any way.

    Following your logic that the Red Poppy glorifies war, one would expect to see the Canadian military out full force doing a Recruiting Drive. I have yet to see that happen over the many years that we have been celebrating Remembrance Day. It has been a very somber and solemn day. For these university students to plan any form of interruption is by far the greatest insult. Would you, Todd Pettigrew along with these students, find it justified to interrupt a solemn ceremony in a Church/Synagogue/Mosque? I hope that you would be more sensible, but perhaps not.

    Feel free to answer. Inquiring minds are waiting to judge your response.

  41. Reading the comments I had to respond . It is now 68 years since the Second World War ended . The Axis armies at their height controled most of Europe , North Africa and a large part of the Pacific . The Axis governments worked hard to influence countries they did not control and they had spies and fifth columnists in most countries of the world . To think that Canada could sit on the sidelines while the world went up in flames shows how far removed we are from the early 40’s . When allied liberated towns and cities in Europe , people didn’t whine about battle damage , they were happy to be free . When Canadian troops liberated Holland they found a country starving . Visit Holland with a Maple leaf on your jacket and see the response you receive . We might forget the war but the peoples were freed by the allies will never forget . Read up on world history . For those who fght for it , freedom has a flavor the sheltered will never know .

  42. There was a man putting people into ovens less than 100 years ago. There was a reason to go fight then, and without that sacrifice we would not be in the position we are today. The red poppy is a symbol, and more than any one man or idea can shake with petty gimmicks like the white poppy. I have no concern for it, because it will fade in time. The importance of remembering soldiers want peace more than anyone, and are the ones who got up and did something about it, and still do today. To remember them and their sacrifice is the key to preventing it in the future, blinding yourself with illusions of peace will only degrade your knowledge of why it happened in the past. To acknowledge that war is sometimes necessary does not mean you promote it as a good thing, Heavy is the head that wears the Kings crown, and it its with reluctance that these wars were fought, but with ultimate purpose. Can the same be said about today’s wars is a different issue, but the men and women who go fight them are surely of the same cloth as those who went before them, proactive helpers to our general cause of freedom and equality.

  43. Nobody in this post has asked where the profits of the poppies go to,let me tell you.I live in Montreal and am a veteran so if any veteran from ww1 to present is in dire need,so The poppy fund will be contacted and the vet in question will be helped if he needs winter clothes underwear,a roof over his head,food,it will be provided,reeducation help and job finding service.So you peacenicks that are secure because of ous are by producing the white poppy,that are taking the food and support for our veterans.This brings me to ask where are the profits of the white poppies going to,and a special thanks to all off you for taking help away from the vets,Remember poppies are also for helping current vets and your protest is taking away their help well done professor.

  44. Long before this debate, Remembrance Day was Armistice Day. If we were to truly glorify war, we would celebrate the beginnings, not the ends. For 93 years Canadians have been taking a minute or two of silence to reflect on what the end of the Great War and other wars mean to them. The white poppy campaign is simply trying to hijack two minutes with catchy phrases like “tacit support” and “collateral damage”. When a University professor cannot distinguish between racism and courage or duty and romance it is of little wonder students confuse the meaning of a red poppy. Wear your naïve white poppy. It means nothing different except a tacit admission that you have absolutely no clue what sacrifice, loss, war, or peace really is.
    …At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.

  45. One more thing to add to my earlier comment. Any university that has staff that openly supports this position, will NEVER have a family member of mine attend. I urge all serving members and Veterans alike to boycott these institutions.

  46. Quote: “It’s quite within the bounds of civilized discourse for students to suggest that there is nothing heroic about signing up to kill, being trained to kill, and then going and killing.” – Todd Pettigrew

    I know no person in the CAF who signed up to kill. I know those who signed up to serve, to be patriotic, or because it was the right personal choice for them, but not to kill. If this is what these students and you believe, I think you are grossly misinformed. Yes the soldiers are victims of the circumstance, but they joined knowing that the may have to placed in harms way in order to protect or enforce some legislation of the government. There is nothing glorious about leaving your family and being injured or dying on foreign soil or having to kill a fellow human being, but it is repulsive to me not to consider those people heroes. So Nov 11th is for the fallen soldiers/dead victims, wear your white poppy the rest of the year to petition government to strive harder for peace to avoid war.

  47. The Red Poppy does not glorify war. This is a symbol we wear to Remember those lives that were lost during war. If the glorification of war is the message our young people are getting then perhaps we need to look at straightening the Red Poppy Campaign. Somewhere the message was lost and that is on us. Remembrance Day ceremonies talk of honor and sacrifice and maybe to some it seems there is glory in war. If these people would only take a moment to look into the faces of our vets they would see there is no glory only sadness and horror. The horrors of war are not talked about, many cannot speak of it, and in truth most of us don’t really want to know. I will wear my Red Poppy and you can wear your white one, it is both our right to do so, however, I will wear mine knowing I am honoring and respecting the very men and women who died giving both of us this FREEDOM.

  48. Rick mcFarlane thankyou for your post I copied it and shared it with a friend of mine whom shared the article you commented on with me in hopes I think to sway my opinion that the white poppy campaign is being done in a disrespectful manner. I felt your wording matched my thoughts and feelings on this topic.

  49. I am very sad that this article has raised so much controversy. But maybe that was the intent? Leave the red poppy alone – it stands alone and should be respected. As someone else said, if the “white poppy” campaign was introduced in February there would not be this outcry. It purposely has been introduced near to November 11th and I find that very disrespectful. Leave our veterans alone – they fought for you and they are our heroes, not “victims” as someone stated. It’s about time some of these young folk took a history lesson.

  50. Peace is not given, it is bought with tremendous sacrifice…if you don’t believe me ask Neville Chamberlain… cannot wish for peace it will not be given…our military keeps the peace for us, giving you the opportunity to misunderstand their efforts…thanks to them you live in a free country, so wear your white poppies…but I will not..peace is bought with blood and that is red….we all wish for peace….

  51. The poppy as symbol of war dates back to the 1800s when a writer saw a field of poppies growing over the graves of fallen soldiers. During WWI, Canadian Lt.-Col. John McCrae was inspired to write the poem “In Flanders Fields” on sighting the poppies growing beside a grave of a close friend who had died in battle. ( info source: So for me the red poppy symbolizes all the Canadians who died during times of war. Peace is always the better choice, but to disrespect or judge men and women who make that choice to be in the Armed Forces is not cool. So, honestly wear a poppy and be respectful of history and the people who died to make Canada safe. The Lest we forget….

  52. Just so I can be clear right off the get go; I do not under any circumstance support war. Now that being said people need to understand that there are evil people in this world who do indeed believe that violence is the answer to any number of problems. The men and women of our Armed forces signed up to be able to serve and defend their country in any way possible. They are prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for this cause.

    When our politicians stand up and decide that the best way to defend our country is by having them serve abroad that is the decision of our politicians, not our soldiers. If you want to protest war, feel free to do so, but by spitting on the traditions that honour our soldiers you show nothing more than ignorance.

    Remembrance day is about our Soldiers and the fact that they have, and will continue to do so in the defense of our great nation and our way of life. Do not disrespect them by throwing out the traditions that remind them that we do still care.

  53. I don’t usually voice my opinions in a serious nature outside fun verbal debates but as trivial is it may be to some, it is serious to others.


    I agree that students today are easily influenced. I applaud their desire for peace, but I wish there was one student with enough common sense to stand up and ask “Why would we use a white poppy on Remembrance Day?” To do so is a quick and easy way to get recognition and easy publicity. In their efforts to do something good they have upset allot of people because it comes across that they do not understand Remembrance Day to its fullest meaning. Had they understood, they would not have introduced a white poppy on November 11.

    Why fix something that is not broken. There are plenty of symbols that represent peace. Perhaps introduce a white ribbon/dove or create a new original symbol in support of peace and in support of Remembrance Day as opposed to a white poppy which in its very nature has caused disruption and anger. It has clearly failed for that reason alone and that is sad because peace is a desire we all aim to. To shame the Red Poppy in support of the white does not promote peace. People feel threatened, betrayed, dishonoured and disrespected by the introduction of the white poppy on November 11, which is why there are negative comments toward the white poppy.

    Had it been on a different day on a different month it would have the support and praise by all, maybe even as a white poppy.

    I support the idea of peace and again I applaud people who work toward peace. If peace is truly the aim of the white poppy supporters, then wear it on a different day and educate yourself as to the true meaning of the Red Poppy.

    I am an Afghanistan Veteran; my grandfather is a WW2 and Korean War Veteran. I wear a Red Poppy on November 11 because I remember the sacrifice soldiers make for freedom, for peace for those injured for those dead. I can say I remember because I was there. I can say I have seen the fallen because I was there. I have saluted the flag draped on a soldier’s coffin and I have shed tears for their families. On every Remembrance Day I stand at attention and in silence and I remember.

    – Adam L

  54. Brett Wilson (the dragon) says it perfect.
    White poppie lovers, you can be proud of the fact our soldiers fell and died for you and all of us for the freedoms you enjoy today.
    Yes, they created the freedom for you to promote this idiotic and moronic campaign. Repect our veterans and the reason for the poppies.

    • I always find it ironic when people argue against the white poppy bases on the notion that soldiers died for the freedom to wear it – while legions regularly threaten those distributing them with legal action.

      “They died for your freedoms. So don’t exercise those freedoms. And if you do, they’ll sue you!”

  55. The history of the white poppy is as old as the war!

    “By 1933 they were searching for a symbol which could be worn by guildswomen who wanted to show publicly that they were against war and for nonviolence. Someone came up with the idea of a white poppy. Workers from the Co-operative Wholesale Society began making the poppies almost at once. Money from selling them, after the production costs had been paid for, was sent to help war-resisters and conscientious objectors in Europe.

    The wearing of a white poppy on Armistice Day became a focus for the peace movement, and the Peace Pledge Union took it up in 1936 as ‘a definite pledge to peace that war must not happen again’. In 1938 ‘Alternative Remembrance’ events began: a pacifist religious service was held in London’s Regent’s Park, followed by a march to Westminster and the laying of a wreath of white poppies at the Cenotaph. 85,000 white poppies, by then an acknowledged symbol of peace, were sold that year. Many people wore them alone, others wore a red poppy as well.

    When an ex-serviceman broke the Armistice Silence at the Cenotaph in 1937, with his loud cry of protest against the hypocrisy of praying for peace while preparing for war, he had made clear what everyone was beginning to realise: the people who shared the Silence were not of one mind about what Remembrance meant.”

  56. I think the promotion of peace can take a more peaceful approach then trivializing the losses of those who sacrificed in the absence of peace. Choosing Remembrance Day for the white poppy campaign has only served to polarize two groups of people and I am positive neither of these groups wants to be involved in a war. Peace begins with each individual taking responsibility for making it happen.

  57. There isn’t a veteran around who thinks war is glorious, not my dad who fought in WWII nor I who who spent over 3 decades in service to this country. We protected the freedoms that are taken for granted. Red poppies glorifying war, yeah right why then is this Remberance Day always sad? Because it DOESN’T glorify war, it gives pause to reflect the terrible cost of it. A vet doesnt want to go to war, but a vet will go if their country demands it. The idea behind the white poppy, peace, is noble. Trying to place it in stead of the red poppy at Rememberance Day is assinine and disrespectful to those who ensured you have the right to be this way without any repercussions.

  58. I don’t know how OLD Mr. Pettigrew is, but I must say that his statement that it’s; “Too bad, but the red poppy DOES glorify war” tells us a lot about his “research”, or LACK thereof into the history of red poppies. In essence—HE DIDN’T DO ANY RESEARCH!!!! The RED poppy was chosen as an appropriate reminder as to the SACRIFICES made by young BOYS barely old enough to shave!! They were TORN from their families and sent thousands of miles away to kill OTHER young men who were also torn from THEIR families. War is unnecessary, and costly in terms of HUMANITY! You would think by the 21st Century man could think of OTHER ways to solve our differences ( but it is also important to remember those who died in order to preserve our freedom!). The RED poppy is a PERFECT symbol AGAINST war—not in SUPPORT of it!! Just a suggestion—-DON’T write an article just to “vent your spleen” without FULLY understanding all the FACTS first!! FYI: This article is an INSULT to our veterans!!! On November 11th shake hands with a vet—and say thank-you!!!

  59. The poppy is red because the flower is red. The general comfort that we as Canadians enjoy came at a steep price! There will never be peace on this earth as long as people exist.

  60. My wife and I are wearing both red and white poppies this year. The white is to recall that it is not only soldiers who lose their lives in war, but civilians as well – lots of them. It is also a reminder that wherever possible, peaceful measures should be used to resolve conflict, and that warfare must always be a last resort, never a first one.

    The red poppy is, for us, a reminder that warfare or other military action sometimes is the only option, and that those who fall in defense of the persecuted do and should receive recognition for their sacrifices. Even peacekeepers can be killed in wounded in carrying out their duties.

    So does this change the original meaning of this day? Perhaps it does. Perhaps it should.

  61. The white poppy is meant to be worn along with the red poppy. Look it up people. Your dispute is stupid.

    • Ryan Lipinski! I took your advice and DID look it up——BUT—-I think you missed the point COMPLETELY!! You OBVIOUSLY aren’t old enough to understand—-so I’ll explain it to you!! The “white” poppy was created in 1926 for the pacifist movement as a symbol AGAINST war. The “red” poppy was adopted a few years earlier as a REMEMBERANCE of the brave young men AND women who sacrificed their futures—and their lives—so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today ( and continued to do so in many other conflicts during the 20th Century and this one)!! People will CHOSE one OR the other—NOT COMBINE THE TWO!!! Therefore—your statement is —as you say—STUPID!!!

  62. People like John slattery and Ryan lipinski above are misinformed bandwagoners…. Did either of you read Mr pettigreews reasoning for the white poppy? READ THE REASON FOR THEM… The red poppy came to symbolize SACRIFICE…. from a poem written about red poppies growing over dead soldiers graves… it doesn’t symbolize war… by any means… it sybolizes the ultimate sacrifice given by a soul to protect the freedom and liberty of their homeland and that of others…. people are critical but guarenteed if we were oppressed you can bet your last dollar these people would be the first to cry for help… They don’t ask why they just go where they had to and we live free today because they made the sacrifice…..

  63. Thank-you Ron Watkins and Paul B. for setting Lipinski straight! The internet is a useful tool for people to give their opinion on current events and timely topics like this one—unfortunately, not everyone THINKS first before typing!!!!!—–yes Mr. Lipinski—-I mean YOU!!!

    • Bruce Lee said it best! “Empty heads have long tongues”!! Everyone wants their “15 minutes” of fame. On the internet however; what people type stays there forever for all whe world to see, GOOD OR BAD! I too went to the memorial ceremonies at Old City Hall in Toronto, and shook hands with many vets of different ages who put themselves in harms way for us. You would be surprised how far a few kind words and a simple “Thank-you” goes as far as showing respect to our wonderful vets!