Red, White and No
I will not judge you if you wear a red poppy.
I will not judge you if you wear a white poppy.
I will not judge you if you wear your poppy with pride.
I will not judge you if you share your reasons for not wearing one.
I will be sad for systems that force the wearing of a poppy.
I will feel sad for those who fear the outcome of their choices.
I will be disappointed with those who feel they have the right to express anger at others’ choices.
I will remember that all death in war is tragic, futile and calamitous.
I will remember those forced to give their lives: certainly, bravely, reluctantly, screaming for home, running in terror.
I will remember lives blasted away, families ripped apart, generations lost. Mental and bodily health ruined.
And I will hear the echo of those determined, traumatised souls of the past warning: “Never again. Never again.”
We must surely remember but we surely must not judge.
For surely when we judge; when we make no attempt to understand, we sit in different camps like enemies and do battle.