Opinion: Will you be wearing your poppy with pride? Or making a stand like Charlene White?

Will you be wearing your poppy with pride?

Will you be wearing your poppy with pride? - Credit: Archant

Liz Nice looks at the debate over wearing a poppy in the build up to Remembrance Sunday.

Former Look East journalist Charlene White’s decision not to wear a poppy on screen is a very brave one.

It would be a lot easier to just grit her teeth and get on with it, so she must feel very strongly about the issue.

Her reasoning, that she can’t show her support for her other charities on screen so why wear a poppy, seems rather light weight.

I wonder if there is more to it.

Perhaps she feels that wearing a poppy shows an underlying support for war, like those who wear the peace symbol of a white poppy at this time of year.

Whatever her reason, she must passionately believe in her right to choose freely what symbols she displays. A woman with an opinion. How about that!

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Charlene’s right to express her view is, after all, what we fought for, isn’t it? The irony that there are people who speak with pride against the fight against fascism, then use social media to abuse a woman with an opinion for her views, her race and her sex is not lost on anyone with a brain.

I sort of see her point in a way.

I have always worn my poppy with pride, happy to show my gratitude to those who fought in both the First and Second World Wars.

I recognise their contribution and don’t see wearing a poppy as a sign that I support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But I don’t want to feel that I HAVE to buy it. That if I forget to put it on, or if it falls off (which always seems to happen to me) then I will be judged.

My grandfather, who fought in the Second World War, stood for many things but what I remember most was his irreverence.

He would have doffed his cap to Charlene, I’m sure, and said “Good for you!” whether he agreed with her or not.

Her stand is a reminder that good men and women fought for a world where we can speak our minds. Social media allows that more than ever, while at the same time ensuring that if you have a controversial view, you’d better have a tin hat at the ready.

Those we are remembering fought against oppression; so, if we feel strongly about something, let’s not oppress ourselves.

This year, I shall wear my poppy in remembrance of that too.