Why I no longer wear a poppy

Toronto Star - - INSIGHT -

I will not wear a poppy. And as I make this de­ci­sion, I see my late fa­ther, a vet­eran of two wars, and my late mother, also a vet­eran, nod­ding their ap­proval.

Ever since child­hood, I have com­mem­o­rated the day of re­mem­brance. I watched my fa­ther on pa­rade, ac­com­pa­nied my mother to lay a wreath and faith­fully, wore a poppy. No longer.

You see, my mother was a vet­eran, but never marched off to war. She, like mil­lions of women, paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice at home. She lost a fi­ancé in the Se­cond World War, left art school to work on a pig farm and raise meat for the troops, joined her own mother in ter­ror as bombs laid waste to Lon­don and walked with her fa­ther as he pa­trolled the neigh­bour­hood on black­out watch.

But my mother, and oth­ers like her, is not re­mem­bered, or not nearly enough. The news­pa­pers are full of pic­tures of sol­diers, the hope­ful faces of young men, sag­ging boots next to hel­mets, rows of pop­pies and sto­ries of trench war­fare. But where is my mother and her legacy? War is not just about men. There has al­ways been a glass ceil­ing in­her­ent in our grim Re­mem­brance Day ri­tu­als. Un­til that is shat­tered, I will no longer wear a poppy. Ali­son Grif­fiths, Burling­ton

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