I have a red poppy made by disabled veterans that I bought for Remembrance Day in the UK many years ago. I keep it in my hallway all year to remind me that I grew up amid the devastation of war.
A red poppy is a symbol to signify what is called “Remembrance Day” in Britain and most of Europe; it signifies the end of the “war to end all wars” that came into effect on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month of 1918, the day World War One hostilities ceased. Poppies were ubiquitous in the fields of Flanders and France where so many lost their lives.
That day became known as Armistice Day and was later renamed Veterans Day in the U.S.
Military or civilian, we are all veterans of endless wars and their costs in lives ruined, maimed and destroyed.
Today, tens of thousands of Military Veterans from U.S. wars are suffering from homelessness, post-traumatic stress syndrome and substance abuse. Military veterans also have higher rates of suicide. It is inevitable that the families of veterans affected by the horrors of war suffer along with them, they too, are veterans of wars.
So, honor and remember our veterans and their sacrifice not just by waving patriotic flags and giving solemn speeches but by calling your congressional legislators and insisting that they pass legislation to appropriate at least 10 percent more of the outrageous military budget toward supporting those veterans who suffer as a result of wars instituted by those very same legislators.
That poppy reminds me every day that, as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Peace is the security we need because war is not the answer to the problems currently facing this country – and the world.
Kathleen Mary Tepper