When I was young Remembrance Day was a strange day. Parents and older family members would solemnly wear poppies, give what they could to the old boys and women who’d be collecting for the survivors of WW1 and 2. Latterly Remembrance Day became about remembering the dead of all of the UK’s wars from the world wars through to Korea, then on and on and on and on…
Remembrance Day was a chance to reflect; to hope never again would men and boys be sent to fight for the gain of politicians, tyrants and crooks. It was a chance to remember the horror of war and what the 20th century’s industrialisation of war could do to people. This pretty much was the case as I grew into adulthood until around about a decade ago when Remembrance Day became less about the solemn idea of Remembrance as in remembering the dead while hoping for it to never happen again, to one where the dead became ‘glorious’ and they died upholding a UK to keep it’s place in the world today.
Remembrance Day was in effect stolen by the ancestors of those who sent boys to die in muddy fields on barbed wire with their guts falling out. Politicians like David Cameron and demagogues like Nigel Farage ensured Remembrance Day became more of a celebration of the dead who died for the glorious cause of the United Kingdom and all it represents. The dead have become ‘glorious’ and violence has become the ultimate force of the state from which all other authorities are derived.
So we’ve had ‘Poppy fascists’ leap on people for choosing not to wear a poppy, and the poppy itself become a symbol now forever corrupted from its original intention. The poppy itself has always been a political symbol, but now it’s being used as a symbol of some sort of supreme imperial loyalty to the UK, and if you don’t wear it then you’re some sort of quisling and deserve public shaming or worse.
Remember the dead today. Remember how they died not in glory, but in pain and agony while the idea of ending all wars was lost for celebrating war as something to prove the power of a faded empire. Remember how they died in mainly pointless wars for the gain of politicians who never lost anything, and how they died for corporations to turn a profit because war now is not about defeating evil as WW2 was. Those days are long gone now.