The image above is a screen shot of the final line of the poem in the video below, a 1-minute reading of In Flanders Fields, that snow-cold burst of verse that triggered the tradition of the red poppy.
Joan Smith, the British journalist we quoted in today’s Monday Morning Memo, shares the logic behind her reluctance to wear the poppy:
“I don’t doubt many individuals wear the red poppy with pride. What I don’t understand is why they want everyone else to wear one, regardless of how they feel towards war and its horrors. I’m not a pacifist, but traditional Remembrance Day ceremonies make me uncomfortable, turning the dead into two-dimensional ‘heroes’ when I know that many died in agony, confusion and despair.”
Joan Smith presents us with an interesting thought. But I don’t agree with it. I am a romanticizer, a colorizer of facts. Yes, I will make a hero out of someone who didn’t feel like a hero or want to be a hero. On certain days, I will even make a hero out of someone who did nothing heroic. But that’s not the point I wish to make right now. The point is this: Joan Smith’s perspective is valid. It is fair. It’s okay that she feels that way. I can even see her point a little. There’s nothing wrong with her. She is not my enemy. We don’t have to think alike.