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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
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Get With the Program People

Brian Wolfe

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It has been a week since Remembrance Day and I still see people wearing their poppy, the symbol of remembrance, on their jackets, coats, hats and even toques.  The poppy is to be worn from November 1st until 11:00 o’clock November 11th at which time it is to be left at the cenotaph or at least removed from your apparel. To be without a poppy from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11, for me, would be the same as being out of uniform for a service person.  Of course no RSM will ream you out and I’m not allowed to do so, such is the pity of that, still there is a protocol that should be followed.  One could use the excuse that you honour the fallen or those who served and are still serving all year long and that is why you are wearing the poppy long after the 11th.  To that I will call “BS”.  If you mean to say that every morning that you get out of bed, or not, you remember those who served then, unless yours is a recent loss of a loved one, you really need to get a life.  Seeing a poppy worn weeks or months after Remembrance Day, at times even on the right lapel of a coat, makes me think that person is either the laziest person around or just completely insensitive.  Following protocol honours those who served and serve as much as actually wearing the flower in the first place.  I’ve seen some old farmers wearing the poppy on the side of what can only be called their “barn hat” due to the layers of filth that has accumulated there over the years.  The red poppy is no longer even a shade of true red, more of a reddish brown.  Oh, that certainly honours the service people; perhaps you could have some poppy patterned facial tissues or bathroom tissues made up so you can honour them all the day long, everywhere you go.  True, I may have crossed the line with that last sentence however in my mind no more than continuing to wear a symbol of remembrance at the incorrect time of the year.  I often wonder if extended wearing of the poppy is more a matter of a display sanctimonious self-rightness than one of respect; “Oh look at me aren’t I the pious one”.

 

In my time I have known veterans from the Boer War, WWI, WWII and the Korean War and I never got the impression from any of them that they expected or wanted to be made a fuss over all year long.  Ass kissing was never an agenda of theirs and never expected from others. Each year my wife and I attend the local cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies, even though neither of us still lives in our respective home towns.  After the ceremony we leave our poppies on the cenotaph, returning home, usually in complete silence, deeply moved by the reverence shown by our fellow attendees and the thoughts of the sacrifice made by others, and perhaps magnified by the lone piper playing Amazing Grace.

 

In closing, if this blog has hit a nerve, made you angry, made you think or just made me look like the pompous ass that I am, and then it was purpose served.  I will not apologise for your failure to follow protocol and will sign off with this note; Get With the Program People!

 

Regards

Brian



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Hi Brian

Thank you for another fine entry.

i for one did not know the need to remove my poppy at 11am on the 11th.

I have also previously wondered why people in the public eye, ie tv presenters, were so quick to remove them.

Now I know.....

 

Thanks again

tony

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As I'm not from a Commonwealth country - nor Belgium nor France -  where the poppy tradition seems to dwell, I hesitate to comment.  There was a time in the U.S. when poppies were much more prolific, but the idea seemed to migrate from Veterans Day to Memorial Day.  I do recall as a member of the Civil Air Patrol in my young teens participating in a poppy appeal drive.  However, I can't remember if it was November or May.  Nevertheless, my comment is this: at least they are wearing poppies.  Well, maybe the farmer took it a bit far.  As for protocol, perhaps these people never had the benefit of being taught the protocol.  Education is always the key to eliminating ignorance.  I was flabbergasted when teaching a unit on World War I to my 9th grade history classes, which concluded just the week before November 11th, that only one - I tolerate almost 150 students - only one - yes only one - knew what holiday falls on 11 November.  And yes, they had just "learned" that date was when the war ended, i.e. Armistice Day.  To err is human.  Forgive them for they know not what they do.  Do not judge harshly those that remember those that should never be forgotten.  Forgive, but do not forget.

Edited by IrishGunner

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Thank you all for your comments.  For some reason your comments were not related to me through the email process we use here otherwise I would have responded sooner.  Before I slam the system, I might have accidentally deleted the notices as this new computer came with updated programs and I am still getting used to them.

 

Thanks again for your comments, it is always good to know my musings are being read.

Regards

Brian

 

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