Poppies

I am updating this post from last year as I’m delighted again this year to see that there is even more ‘poppy’ merchandise available for Remembrance Day.

Much has changed this year, but some things will always remain.

The products this year (as well as the poppies themselves) have really appealed to the children.  What a fantastic way to ensure that the appeal resonates with our young people.

More importantly of course the children are going to want to buy these accessories, the likes of which are poppy slap bands, friendship bracelets, pencils, key rings and wristbands.

Poppy Slap Bands

What a brilliant way to raise money for the appeal.

For once, no parent will mind being ‘sold to’ and more money can go towards this fabulous cause.

So successful was this merchandise that my daughters school ran out.   Apparently this was the first year the new poppy merchandise had been available and the children were queuing to purchase.

There is nothing that feels me with pride so much than seeing a poppy being worn.

Poppies

It also feels me with parental pride to see my daughter wearing hers.  In fact she has done so since Reception age when she carried a very large poppy around on her little school bag.

In Year 2 she came home with this lovely poppy picture which was painted using a potato stamped in paint and her fingerprints.  It has always been one of our favourites and coincidentally I have just purchased a frame for it to go on the wall.  It has been much admired and some people have seen it and thought it was from a shop.

Poppies

I see it and I think of her little chubby fingers making patterns and having fun whilst at the same time being told how special and important her picture was.

Many children are still too young to understand the history of the poppy, neither is too much information necessary at their tender age.   However, it ensures that the poppy becomes a symbolic part of their lives.  There is plenty of time for them to learn more about the history as they get older.

I guess there is a fear that the history of the poppy will not travel through the generations.

In fact, I  read a rather lovely story recently about how to wear a poppy which was being shared on Facebook.  I for one certainly didn’t know that their was a ‘correct’ way.

I know that many people will have already seen the article as several have mentioned it but I thought I would share the story for those who haven’t – it made me feel rather warm inside.

The information came from a military man who was worried that his generation wouldn’t always be around to teach our young people.

I would love to be able to credit the person who gave the information but as with most of these round robins on Facebook, that information is not shared.

‘Women should wear their poppy on their right side; the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn’t have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much. The leaf should be positioned at 11 o’clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that World War One formally ended’.

Whilst this story is at odds with what we know to be the ‘official’ origin of the poppy, in much the same way that many stories and meanings have been attributed to the poppy over the years, it resonates nevertheless.

What I do know is that Social Media is a wonderfully, powerful tool for these kinds of stories and I imagine that if you haven’t already done so, you will be moving your poppy leaf to the position of 11.00 as my friends and I did this morning.  We had all heard the story independently.  This is testament to this ‘lovely man’ and the person that he shared this with (also unknown) and I hope they know that we are all talking about his story and that the intention is being honoured already.

I have shared this story with my daughter and no doubt others will do the same.

I remember being delighted with a poppy as a child.  My mother was a child during the Second World War and was evacuated from her home in East London, my father was a little older.  I feel privileged to have heard the stories they were able to share whilst they were still with us.

I am able to share those stories with my daughter and my husband’s mother is also able to share her own stories of the war years with her granddaughter.

In turn, I am sure she will continue to pass these stories down the generations.

What I hope will also be passed on is the respect that surrounds the poppy and Remembrance Day for it is a respect quite like no other.

There is something quite remarkable about the respect that our children adopt around this time.

If at the very least, it is just this respect that continues through the generations,  we will have achieved something quite wonderful.

Poppies

Did this man’s story of the poppy reach you this year?

Are you wearing yours pointing towards 11 o’clock?

Nicky

 

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