My Poppy is Red

Posted By on November 11, 2013


3 Responses to “My Poppy is Red”

  1. Silvia Jay says:

    I have such mixed feelings about that day, and not only because the allies kicked our ass – as Mike likes to – lovingly – remind me of from time to time.
    I like this post and agree with it wholeheartedly, including how misused the word hero has become, but as the wife of a retired military man who has seen action in Bosnia (The History Channel had a documentary Sunday and Monday), I have also witnessed the glorification of war and its participants. Not all soldiers are pure in their hearts and morally sound – there are a good number of ordinary jerks like they can be found anywhere, who are soldiers for another reason than to be of service, and I am hard pressed to celebrate them even if they killed a, proclaimed by the state, enemy.
    I also argue that young boys’ fascination for war exists because it has a certain glory/hero aura to it. We give medals to soldiers like we give gold stars to grade school kids, and they wear them with the same pride. Many soldiers who have never seen action will tell you that they were excited when they were sent to where action happened – until they realized what it is really like. After the fact, no glorification, before there surely is.
    Adults who want to remember and give thanks – fine by me. I do too, mentally not to the jerks, but I am against brainwashing children and teaching them only fragments of the whole.
    In a global way of thinking, ensuring someone’s freedom is a noble thought, but in war whose freedom is taken away at the same time?
    If we really want peace – which I doubt is true for some people – our minds and teachings need to be occupied with peace, not war.

    • Randy says:

      Oh that Mike of yours, such a Man you married.

      I too am all too aware of how thoroughly Human frailty and the flaws of character pervade every endeavour, and any pretense that soldiering is excluded from that is akin to the hypocrisy of showing up at the funeral of someone you hated, speaking highly of them now that they’re gone, when you really know you only came to assure yourself that the son of a bitch is really dead.

      I believe that this time in history needs to find its way back to a remembering of what heroism is, that Manhood is actually a learned skill, and that children need powerful personal heroes to emulate. In the present void of this absolute need, the latest first person shooter video game, or bling flashing rap artist, or shit head “reality” show star need not apply.

      I speak to this from a masculine perspective only because it is traditionally boys who fall afoul of it, or at least are blamed so. As a Swordsman I hold that the ability to fight, and fight well, is as important an aspect of education as is literacy, but only as the lethal art is grasped and understood as an improvement of the self and the society one inhabits. I hope I’m making sense here.

      The risk is now, as it always has been, that those in power will subvert the martial spirit, as naturally manifested in its youth, to feed the cauldron of greed. Conflict is Nature, and in this only a transient response, not a consistently existing state. War is the malignant cancer that can grow on conflict, especially when greed is served by the growing, and it brings with it a thirst for its own survival as an accepted state of being.

      Back during WW1, a lot of the people living in and around my home town of Lunenburg turned their backs on their German ancestry by Anglicizing their surnames and laying claim to Dutch ancestry instead. It has always been a point of pride for me that my own surname – only slightly modified WAY back from the original Weihnacht (possibly explaining why I’m such a jolly bastard) – survived nearly intact in a latter day sea of Whynots and Whynaughts. There are 11 different ways to spell the name in Lunenburg County alone.

      When you said, in closing, that, “… our minds and teachings need to be occupied with peace, not war,” you said a mouthful. It’s said that one sword keeps another in its sheath, and there is a Polish saying that asks, “God grant me a good sword and no use for it.” There will always be conflict. It must be understood by all that he risks not being pricked by the thorn who leaves the blossom alone.

      Let’s join in being respectful of those, on all sides, who stood in harm’s way and lost all for what they believed was right, and likewise give thanks to the inevitable percentage of jerks who at least did the world a favour by being removed from it.

  2. Steve says:

    “No bombast or chest beating. Just ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Things we all need to be eternally and unforgettingly grateful for ….”

Leave a Reply