Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What to Wear: The Poppy ( Red is the New Black)

I've been hard pressed to find a bare jacket collar this week. Not only am I seeing pinless scores of them littering the ground but I am dazzled by bright red poppies adorning virtually every lapel, sweater, even backpack I see on our city's streets.

Is the Poppy's ubiquity something new or is my noticing it simply something new to me? Official "poppy policy" sees our civil servants and broadcasters don the poppy two weeks prior to Remembrance Day, November 11th. In late October, our young cadets and Legion members swamp grocery and liquor stores trading poppies for donations. From what I have seen, business is brisk.

Perhaps it is my own predilection for the poppy that has me interpreting my world through red-coloured glasses, but I can't help sense that Canadians are establishing a new patriotism, a patriotism that naturally extends to our appreciation for our active military personnel but also to those who helped establish Canada as a nation. This pride in our country, in ourselves, may stem from the new-found respect afforded us as a global leader side-stepping a crumbling world economy or it may simply be that we are growing up.

As I move into what my son refers to as a "certain age", I am finding myself more sentimental, even nostalgic but I am also more grateful. And perhaps that is all it is, those of us in developed nations are finally feeling grateful for what we do have.

In the news today, Prince William "demands Fifa U-turn on poppy ban", a long-standing policy that match 
shirts should not carry political, religious or commercial messages. The Duke of Cambridge insists that poppies do not represent political, religious or commercial messages. I don't know quite what to say to that except that perhaps they don't, but they so also obviously do. What the poppy represents may now become the stuff of future debate. For me, it is a show of gratitude and quiet commemoration.

As Rick Mercer says: remember to remember. I'm looking forward to seeing you and your poppy until 11:11 a.m. on November 11th and then we will do what our military personnel, their families, and our veterans do every year, move past the remembering and back into the doing. 

And just to prove I am a sentimental old fool, here is Terry Kelly's "A Pittance of Time"

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