Do you know why we wear poppies on and around Remembrance Day? Apparently some University of Calgary students have no idea. Either that or they don’t care. Surprised at the scarcity of poppies on campus, I surveyed a few random classmates in the halls. I wanted to know why they weren’t wearing a poppy.
“I can’t afford to spend money on things like that,” said one student.
What!? Poppies are sold at cash registers in stores on a donation system, meaning that you could literally buy one for five cents (although that would be awful, considering the money raised through poppy sales goes to veterans). I understand that financially, things are tough and only getting tougher, but I’m tired of hearing students complain about how
they “can’t even afford books” the day after I see them at the Den, pouring beers for all their friends. Give up a dollar, even fifty cents, get a poppy and put it on. But please, put your money in the right place.
“I have one, it’s on my bag,” a girl in the hall pointed out with pride.
The effort is appreciated, but I have a beef with this too. Yes, you bought a poppy, and yes, you are remembering in your own way, but you are also missing the point. A poppy is to be worn on the left side of your chest, over your heart, to symbolize your care for those
who gave their lives. When you put it on the strap of your school bag, it loses that importance. You don’t keep your heart in your bag,
just your life. And why would you put it on your bag in the first place?
“I don’t want to put holes in my clothes.”
It gets worse, even for people who are aware of the harsh realities of war.
“I don’t believe in war, that’s why I don’t wear a poppy,” I was told matter-of-factly by a student in the ICT building.
I am officially starting a petition to the university to start a mandatory class called TBYS 201 (Think Before You Speak). Somehow this person got into university with this brain; let’s make them use it. Apparently a perfect justification for not remembering casualties of war, is that you don’t believe in it.
I can’t even begin to make sense of this. The fact that I would do
anything to avoid fighting in a war is my personal motive for remembering lives given in wars past. Nobody said to their wives or parents as they shipped off to Europe in 1940, “bye mom, dad, thanks for having me, I’m going to die now.” The lives we remember were taken by war.
In fact, I hate war so much, I wear a poppy.
You should too.