Leading article: Poppy-wearing should be a matter of choice, not pressure

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The Independent Online

Wearing a poppy is an act of personal respect for those who fought and died for this country in two world wars as well as more recent conflicts. It is not, or should not be, an exercise in communal conformity. The moment that someone feels obliged to wear the symbol for fear of looking out of place or disrespectful is the moment we forget what our servicemen and women actually fought for.

Most of the people standing in silence in memory of the dead know this perfectly well. As the names are read out from the memorials across the country, they are remembered as individuals, not causes. There is in the serried ranks of poppy-wearers in the Commons and in television studios, and all the fuss over footballers, the hint of a movement which is becoming oppressive in its pressure. Donning this flower is a matter of personal choice and should always remain so.

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