Opinions: Do you wear a poppy?
Sunday 14 November 1993
MONSIGNOR BRUCE KENT: No I don't, neither red nor white. Poppies are indulgent nostalgia that do nothing to prevent further wars. How many people wearing poppies are involved in any form of anti-war campaign?
DAVID FRANKLIN, poppy-seller, retired BBC journalist and war veteran: Yes, I do, in gratitude for all those who have given their lives so that we can go on living. Poppies don't glorify war, they're for remembering many wars, and the people who gave their lives. It's staggering that some people don't know what the poppy symbolises. One woman had a vague notion it was to help the aged. When I explained, she said, 'The war, well, that was a long time ago, wasn't it?'
JANE DOUGAL, researcher: I keep thinking 'Is this relevant to me any more?' If someone's rattling their tin and I'm feeling generous I might succumb.
STEPHEN SPENDER, poet: I certainly do. The ending of the war was the most important monument of our century.
JOSHUA FIELD, retired shop-owner: Never. It reminds me of how stupid the men were that put the soldiers in a position to be massacred.
SARAH BULL, community centre worker: If it matches my clothes] I do some years, but my feelings don't go very deep. There's nobody close to me that's been affected.
DAVID KALE, 10: I haven't bothered to get one. They're OK I suppose. It's for remembering the first flowers that grew, isn't it?
DR JAY WINTER, Professor of History, Pembroke College Cambridge: Yes, I do. It's like a little memorial. Poppies are the icon of the 20th century. They recall the simple shock of colour in the middle of no-man's land.
IAN FRASER, journalist: I didn't get one this year because I haven't been wearing a tweed jacket or shirt. If you put them into a jersey they just fall
out. I normally lose about three a year.
DARCUS HOWE, television presenter: No. I find it very difficult to recall the war with any sentimentality whatsoever. I think it's the greatest hypocrisy that European governments lead people into remembrance when they are capable of leading us into the same mess again. Look at Bosnia.
HOWARD CLARK, War Resisters International: Obviously, everyone respects the dead. Our concern is to make sure that remembrance should reflect the shame of war as well. I wear a red poppy to signify that I respect the feelings of those who fought and died, and a white poppy to signify 'never again'.
KATE HARPER, housewife: My first reaction was 'No] I don't want to support the military, I'm anti-war]' But those young men went out to fight and died, believing in a cause. So I bought one and wore it, until it got crushed.
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