Poppy Day

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Poppy Day

Postby Sir Didymus » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:13 pm

Now that November is out of the way, I feel its possible we can discuss this civilly, and as I've just reached the end of my Blackadder marathon, its prompted me to question the nature of what we call Remembrance Sunday in the UK.

The event, if I'm not mistaken, was set up to commemorate those who fell during World War I and World War II. Men who were, on the whole, forced to take part. Of course, many subscribed out of national pride and the urge to defend what they must, but a great number simply did not want to be there and felt they had no choice.

This I can understand. I can respect this greatly, and feel that their fight was totally necessary and worth remembering them for.

But in recent years, the day has come to be a chance to remember ALL British soldiers who fell, despite the vast majority of those who joined up post-war doing so by choice. Whilst I don't want to suggest their deaths are pointless, I do feel that perhaps they deserve another day to be remembered on, to protect the purity of Remembrance Day for what it really should be about.

Now, I could debate endlessly about the necessity of the fights these men lots their lives in, and about how they are glorified for risking and in some cases losing their lives for highly questionable conflicts, but my main concern seems to be that these men and women CHOSE to be there. Admittedly, they don't usually request to be posted to Iraq or Kuwait or whatever, but they still sign on the dotted line by choice, and take all the benefits it brings in return for the enormous risk they take.

If we're going to celebrate them, which I'm definitely NOT saying we shouldn't do, as they are still brave human beings, I feel it should be on an entirely different day far removed from those who HAD to fight to stop Britain being conquered. And if we ARE going to celebrate them, then perhaps its time we had an Emergency Services day for those men and women in our police, ambulance and firefighting services who have lost their lives really protecting the people of this country.

I realise this is a somewhat controversial view, but I feel "Poppy Day" has been tainted by this change in perspective and I don't feel myself wanting to have anything to do with it anymore. Naturally, I feel guilty about this, and its my problem instead of yours, but it certainly made me want to discuss it on here. I realise there are members of this board who have family members in the armed forces, so I'm particularly interested in their take on this.
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Elessar » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:53 pm

I completely agree. I remember when there were still World War One veterans alive, there was one who would always say the same thing every year: "Don't forget the Germans". We've completely lost that sense of perspective. It's no longer about remembering the great loss of life that the Great Wars caused; it's become a celebration of us killing the evil A-rabs, so that we can feel safe in our beds at night. The reality is that our own personal security certainly hasn't improved due to the more recent wars - if anything, it's been reduced. Back in WWI and WWII, the consequence of losing was potentially losing our freedom. That's not the case nowadays.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Elessar » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:38 pm

I realise that my post sounds like it's making a completely different point to Didy's, but I think they are actually linked. Back when it was schoolboys fighting schoolboys, it was perhaps easier to see the sheer futility and pointlessness of it all. Nowadays it's professional soldiers fighting professional soldiers, which seems to breed more partisan feelings and a tone of celebration rather than commemoration. In Iraq we've lost something like 315 soldiers. Now although that's 315 too many, in World War I we lost around 1,000,000. More would die in a single battle than in the whole of the Iraq War. it was a scale of loss that's in a completely different league to the loss that war brings to our Forces today. Nowadays, death is an occupational hazard for trained soliders. Back in World War I, it was conscripted genocide. We need to remember that so that it never happens again.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby ice on fire » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:16 pm

Is it as much as celebrating than it is remebering? Those men and women should(IMO) share the same day. When I wear a poppy, its to remeber all the people who fought, died and lived through all wars. Of course I don't have to wear a poppy to do that. In England, is poppies sold, if so where does the money go?
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Elessar » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:54 pm

ice on fire wrote:Is it as much as celebrating than it is remebering? Those men and women should(IMO) share the same day. When I wear a poppy, its to remeber all the people who fought, died and lived through all wars. Of course I don't have to wear a poppy to do that. In England, is poppies sold, if so where does the money go?


It goes to the Royal British Legion, which provides support to veterans and their families.

Some of the injuries that soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq have come home with are absolutely horrific. I read about an American soldier who was shot in the head, and left so catastrophically brain damaged that he is completely paralysed, completely blind (ruling out communicating with his eyes), and also cognitively brain damaged as well. The only indication that there's anything 'left' of him is when he cries in response to his mother crying. That's heart-breakingly sad, there are no two ways about it. And people like him should be given all the support that they need from the country that sent them to war.

However, that doesn't change the fact that they're trained professionals, who were very unlucky to be injured. In World War I, schoolboys were sent to war, and died in their tens of thousands. The scale of death and injury is completely incomparable. I don't think it's appropriate for the charity that supported these non-professional victims to also now be supporting professional victims. There should be separate charities.

But then, maybe Didy and I have got this the wrong way round. Maybe the people of Great Britain HAVE forgotten about the losses in the Great Wars, and only care about celebrating our 'victories' overseas, and if there were two separate charities, it's the WWI/WWII funds that would miss out?
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby ice on fire » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:37 am

Good, because thats where the money goes to in Canada as well. I do think often, if anyone who goes to war, can really know what they are getting into. I know my 2 realtives didn't. My great grandfather wanted to serve his country~which was for England at the time during WW1. All vetrans should be supported, who is to say which groups of people should have more support, monies etc? I hate to say this, I think there always will be wars, our men and women are always going to be injured/killed...they need and deserve all we can give them.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby fairydandy » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:26 am

I remember posting my thoughts on here a few years ago that we should stop remembering the wars and move forward. Of course it caused an absolute storm and I was attacked from all sides. I said at the time that I would never walk past a poppy day collector without putting money in the tin though...and I expect that's a lot more than some of those did on here, who said that we must never forget!

I have changed my opinion a little, I'm not so hard now, but I still maintain that as a country we live on these past 'glories' rather than move forward. Without wanting to derail the topic, I was watching the news yesterday about the world cup and the presenter was harping on about 'the three lions' who had just delivered a magnificent presentation (his words...to me it simply looked lacklustre and desperate) to the delegation. The 'three lions' were Prince William, David Beckham and David Cameron...well actually there was four of them, but the other was a black kid who just loved playing football and said that it changed his life, so he didn't matter. :roll: Anyway we actually received one vote, other than our own...and that for me was another example of how we live in the past in this country...we clung to the notion of 'the three lions' and we think that the world views it favourably, in fact they are probably just laughing at us now (in fact our performances on the field have been laughable, so they should do). We just can't let go, we just can't accept that our place in the world is now as a minor player...why don't we learn to live in the shadows a little..why don't we stop deluding ourselves as a nation? We can't even watch our football team play a game without singing 'Rule Brittania' from the terraces, it's just so embarrassing to hear. Sorry, this isn't about football, I understand that, but we have a real problem in this country with the two wars that we won...and it's dragging us back. We just think that we have to celebrate it, rather than remember it and move on.

Back on topic and that's how I feel about the wars that we fight now. We are clinging to the past, we are clinging to America and we don't seem to have any respect in the world anymore. I support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but are we doing it to keep in with the US, or because we think that it's the right thing to do? Anyway, poppy day, well to me it's about all of our servicemen, no matter where they serve. When I put my money in the tin, I want it to help our servicemen past and present.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby ice on fire » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:51 am

I truly hope none of your British people forget what Canada did for your people and people of the world during wars/conflicts. I remeber on the old board mentioning how many Canadians were killed in Afghanstain, and it was very nearly brushed aside. I support our troops(and all troops) I just wish they all could come home today. Like I said above I dont need to wear a poppy to remeber those who have died, and I feel quite strongly Remebrance Day isnt a day people celebrate. It is for remebering or it should be.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Elessar » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:05 pm

ice on fire wrote:Good, because thats where the money goes to in Canada as well. I do think often, if anyone who goes to war, can really know what they are getting into. I know my 2 realtives didn't. My great grandfather wanted to serve his country~which was for England at the time during WW1. All vetrans should be supported, who is to say which groups of people should have more support, monies etc? I hate to say this, I think there always will be wars, our men and women are always going to be injured/killed...they need and deserve all we can give them.


These moral absolutes don't stand up to any scrutiny whatsoever, and just give the appearance of someone wanting to say the 'nicest' thing. Should the My Lai veterans be given financial rewards?
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby ice on fire » Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:49 pm

First off, Elessar please don't assume how I feel. To be honest I have not heard about My Lai until reading your post.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Elessar » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:09 pm

ice on fire wrote:First off, Elessar please don't assume how I feel. To be honest I have not heard about My Lai until reading your post.


I haven't assumed anything. I said your post "gave the appearance", which is a comment about my feelings, not yours.

In a nutshell, a bunch of soldiers wiped out the women and children (shooting babies in the face) of a Vietnamese village. There are various theories about why they did this. I personally think it's extremely unlikely that they were all 'evil' and happened to be all on the same mission together; I think it's more likely that they'd been trained and to a certain extent brainwashed to think of Vietnamese people as targets rather than humans. Arguably the psychological scars of going through something like that are considerable. However, they were prosecuted for murder.

This is my point about moral absolutes. It's far too simplistic and just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby ice on fire » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:38 pm

These 2 questions I am about to ask very well may be impossible to answer, but I will ask them anyway. Is any war worth it, and has any war/s been based on morals alone? I could not imagine what goes through a soliders mind after witnessing what can happen during war.
 
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Sir Didymus » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:10 am

fairydandy wrote:I remember posting my thoughts on here a few years ago that we should stop remembering the wars and move forward. Of course it caused an absolute storm and I was attacked from all sides. I said at the time that I would never walk past a poppy day collector without putting money in the tin though...and I expect that's a lot more than some of those did on here, who said that we must never forget!

I have changed my opinion a little, I'm not so hard now, but I still maintain that as a country we live on these past 'glories' rather than move forward. Without wanting to derail the topic, I was watching the news yesterday about the world cup and the presenter was harping on about 'the three lions' who had just delivered a magnificent presentation (his words...to me it simply looked lacklustre and desperate) to the delegation. The 'three lions' were Prince William, David Beckham and David Cameron...well actually there was four of them, but the other was a black kid who just loved playing football and said that it changed his life, so he didn't matter. :roll: Anyway we actually received one vote, other than our own...and that for me was another example of how we live in the past in this country...we clung to the notion of 'the three lions' and we think that the world views it favourably, in fact they are probably just laughing at us now (in fact our performances on the field have been laughable, so they should do). We just can't let go, we just can't accept that our place in the world is now as a minor player...why don't we learn to live in the shadows a little..why don't we stop deluding ourselves as a nation? We can't even watch our football team play a game without singing 'Rule Brittania' from the terraces, it's just so embarrassing to hear. Sorry, this isn't about football, I understand that, but we have a real problem in this country with the two wars that we won...and it's dragging us back. We just think that we have to celebrate it, rather than remember it and move on.

Back on topic and that's how I feel about the wars that we fight now. We are clinging to the past, we are clinging to America and we don't seem to have any respect in the world anymore. I support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but are we doing it to keep in with the US, or because we think that it's the right thing to do? Anyway, poppy day, well to me it's about all of our servicemen, no matter where they serve. When I put my money in the tin, I want it to help our servicemen past and present.


I see your point, but I think thats part of the problem with Poppy Day as its become. Now its a celebration of our victory, rather than a chance to remember those who suffered to make it happen.

To be honest, I can't feel proud of any sporting 'achievements'. I'm sure it takes great skill to be able to kick a ball around properly, bowl out a batter or swim the 400m in record breaking time, but I just can't feel in the least bit celebratory or patriotic about it. Well done them, of course, but not my cup of tea.

Now art and culture... the fine music our country has created, the great television, the groundbreaking films, the paintings and sculptures and novels and all the rest... THAT'S something I can rally behind a little. Even then, its only a casual nod that Britain has produced some great talents... its not an uber-patriotic thing.
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Pastieman.Steve » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:11 am

While I understand the thoughts behind the original post made by Didy I totally disagree with them, remembrance day is and should be for all servicemen and women who have been killed or wounded in any armed conflict no matter when or where it was. I really don’t think that because people from conflicts of more recent times are also remembered on 11/11 that it takes anything away from those who lost their lives in WW1 and WW11, if anything due to the fact that each year that passes there are fewer and fewer vet’s left from those wars, due to the loss of life in more recent wars by including them all together it helps us to remember the “old” wars more. The reason for this view is that younger generations can not relate to the wars of 70 plus years ago and the loss of life that all sides suffered, conflicts are in the news today, this isn’t history that they read in books or watch old films about, this is real life here and now so can be related to much easier.
Poppies are sold to raise funds for the British Legion to help ALL service people old and new from all conflicts, it is far easier to have one day to remember ALL than to have different dates for different conflicts and would prob have far more impact and raise more money to remember the fallen on just one day.

“but my main concern seems to be that these men and women CHOSE to be there. Admittedly, they don't usually request to be posted to Iraq or Kuwait or whatever, but they still sign on the dotted line by choice, and take all the benefits it brings in return for the enormous risk they take.”


This sentence is just total bollocks, as regular posters will know this subject is very close to my heart as I am emotionally involved in it having a son serving in the Army. Lets get a few things right here, firstly our troops DONT choose to be there, they are ordered to be there, very different, as any serviceman/woman where would you soon be a) in the middle of some hot, dusty shithole with no home comforts being shot at or running the risk your next step could be on a mine or b) sat at home with the wife and kids watching MOTD? Guess which they would opt for?
They are told to go there by their boss or face a court marshall and face jail, if your boss tells you to do something and you say no all you get is a ticking off and a black mark against your name.
Yes they sign on the dotted line and know the risks, they do so to despite what you think to protect Queen and Country so that you can sleep safe at night in your nice warm comfy bed and go to your 9-5 job the next day, have a pint in the pub after work then go home and shag your partner, then have the disrespect for them to say “they sign up for it, they take the risks”. They have more guts, more balls and are far braver than you and I are to sign up while all we do is our nice cosy shitty job.
Please can you explain all these benefits they get while they are away from home fighting? Yes they get a little bit extra in wages for being away from home, but thats it, sod all else, and is prob not much more than a businessman claiming expenses while working away from home, living it up in posh hotels eating 3 course meals.

Serviceman/women today sign up of their own choice, those involved in WW1 &WW11 had no choice they HAD to sign up or face jail, now who is braver knowing what could happen, those who have a choice or those who have too?

You can not have an “Emergency Services Day” lumping them all in together as police, ambulance and fire services are total different from our armed forces. Not saying that those services are not important but how is the ambulance and fire service “really protecting” our country?
Sorry Didy but you are way off base here, our armed forces are protecting our waters and others 24/7, 365 days a year in more ways than you will ever think or know. I cant say anything on here, nor would I, but my Son’s role in the Army is at the forefront and is just a small part of what keeps you safe at night along with many millions of other people all over the world.

Please think carefully about your answer and your thoughts and don’t disrespect those young people that have the balls to sign on the dotted line while we don’t so get a cosy job in factories, shops and offices. Like it or not, they do it for you and you cant be bothered to put a few quid in to by a poppy to help support those that make the ultimate sacrifice or get injured.
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Re: Poppy Day

Postby Pastieman.Steve » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:24 am

Sir Didymus wrote:
I see your point, but I think thats part of the problem with Poppy Day as its become. Now its a celebration of our victory, rather than a chance to remember those who suffered to make it happen.



Rubbish, we haven't won any victory in Afghanistan yet we still remember the 345 British troops that have died out there to date.
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