Collections and Collecting….part the third

Poppy field....copyright THe Royal British Legion

Poppy field....copyright THe Royal British Legion

We are once again intot he time of year when many will be collecting moneys for the Annual Poppy Appeal by the British Legion.
Each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for The Royal British Legion’s charity work through the Poppy Appeal. The 2009 Poppy Appeal is emphasising the need to help the Afghan generation of the Armed Forces and their families – today and for the rest of their lives.

For very many years I wore my poppy proudly for a short time each Novemeber. That was until I noticed that our youngest sonwas stillw earing a poppy in the middel of the year. I asked him why. “If I can remember them for a few days in Novemeber I can remember them for the whole year.” I now wear a lapel badge, not to glorify war you understand but to remember the losers in every war, the ordinary soldiers, as Bertholdt Brecht has it in The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

My family is still affected by the death of my paternal grand father in the last couple of weeks of WWI. My father never knew his father and, like it or not. that affected the way he lived his life and tried to bring me up and thus the way I have tried to bring up my own children.

Where ever you are in the world I ask that you remember your Service men and women. And, if someone is collecting for their benefit, give generously.


6 Responses to “Collections and Collecting….part the third”

  1. Grannymar Says:

    A very worthy cause!

  2. Rummuser Says:

    Magpie, you have touched a great cord in my heart. I am one of the legions of Indians who worship their armed forces with pride and great affection. I have many friends who have served and retired, some who are still in service and I keep urging young friends and children of friends to join up in our Forces. Our Armed Forces have kept India safe from marauding neighbours and have taught them lessons that are not easily forgotten by students of military matters. Just ask one about Kargil. Or about the Bangla Desh war when the largest Prisoners of War ever taken in one battle was by the Indian Army!

    Incidentally, the poppy fields here mean different things to us! Part of the problem that the West is facing now is financed from the Poppy fields of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  3. Ursula Says:

    Magpie, Poppy fields are as beautiful as a sea of sunflowers in the south of France.

    Ever since my arrival in England the sight of a poppy saddens me. It’s their connotation: Like receiving a letter with a black border. Not that there is anything wrong with being sad and reminded of trying to learn from history. That’s the spirit in which ‘history’ is being taught. However, whilst the aim noble, the theory does not necessarily translate into practice.

    Ramana, you take pride in your armed forces. Maybe it’s because I am a woman I can’t share your enthusiasm in anything military. All I see are fathers, brothers, sons butchered – in the name of what exactly? Should there ever be a call to arms again I’d rather lock my son (and any of my nephews) in a trunk and sit on it till it’s all over. We don’t bring children into this world, love and nurture them, only to sacrifice them on the altar of ideologies – whether political or religious.


  4. Rummuser Says:

    Ursula, I understand and appreciate your view point. You can afford to be like that because your armed forces have made you safe, just as ours has made us. Neither of us have been aggressors, but have been subject to invasion and threats be hostile forces. If the ideal situation of total peace is to be brought about, with which, I totally agree, I am afraid, we need forces like ours to protect our ways of living.

  5. Magpie11 Says:

    A variety of responses… I certainly don’t glory in war..well, no longer. However there is something primeval watching a film of a bombardment just as there is when seeing huge forces of nature in action, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes or the sea. Then the sudden reality of life destroyed clicks in.

    My paternal Grandfather was killed in WWI and my father, brought up by his mother’s sister, a Salvationist, was not allowed to serve in the military in WWII because his was a restricted trade. One of the three times only that I ever saw my father cry/weep was when he told me that he always wanted to be a soldier like his father.

    A different age and past generations. What we have in Britain is thanks to them.

    War against the tyranny of Hitler and his ilk is one thing.War because of religious belief or war to complete a job first started by one’s father, these are different matters. For weak politicians to support the same is despicable but some of my pupils have had to fight in these wars and it is them that I support.
    Evolution has a long way to go before we become truly peaceful creatures, if ever.

  6. Maureen Says:

    “My family is still affected by the death of my paternal grand father in the last couple of weeks of WWI. My father never knew his father and, like it or not. that affected the way he lived his life and tried to bring me up and thus the way I have tried to bring up my own children.”

    So true, the ripple effect that is felt by something that happened well before one’s own time.

    I have two poppies pinned to the visors in my car to always remind me of those we’ve lost.

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