“This Remembrance Day I’ll wear two poppies: one red and one white”


Malcolm French, a veteran who served for 25 years with the Royal Canadian Navy, discusses on CBC Radio why he wears both a red and a white poppy on  Remembrance Day:

Last year I wore two poppies: one red and one white. This year, I intend to do it again. Some claim the white poppy is disrespectful to veterans and to the fallen. It’s a trumped-up controversy designed to have citizens outraged over trifles to divert attention away from the real disrespect meted out to veterans every day.

Under the new Veterans Charter, ongoing pensions for wounded soldiers have been replaced with lump-sum payments. Veterans Affairs offices have been closed. We have now lost more Afghanistan veterans to suicide than were lost to enemy action.

So why did I wear two poppies, and why will I do it again?

For me, the red poppy represents the sacrifice of the fallen; the white poppy represents the hope for a better future where young soldiers, sailors, and air crew do not have to die.

I’ll wear two poppies because I believe that the two sides of the Remembrance Day narrative need to be balanced, because I honour the sacrifice of veterans and their fallen comrades. I believe that the lives of young Canadian service folk should not be sacrificed lightly.

I’ll wear two poppies because I reject the antics of the professional rage artists who deflect our attention from real issues. But mostly, I’ll wear two poppies to take a stand against the phony outrage intended to shame those who would wear a white poppy. If not for that, I doubt I’d have gone to the trouble of tracking down a white poppy.


As we approach Remembrance Day, we will be reminded again and again that those who served and those who never came home were defending our freedom. I agree. And I can think of no greater disrespect to veterans and to their fallen comrades than to self-censor on Remembrance Day of all days. I will not dishonour the sacrifice of the fallen by fearfully laying aside the freedom they won at such cost.

That’s why this Remembrance Day I’ll wear two poppies: one red and one white.”

Listen to the full statement on CBC Radio’s The 180


Photo credit: CC BY 2.0 image “Rememberence [sic] Day 2007” by Douglas O’Brien on Flickr

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9 Responses to ““This Remembrance Day I’ll wear two poppies: one red and one white””

  1. MargsviewNovember 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    I agree with you and wonder how remembering the loss of so many and so much but worry when I hear little outcry against the staged manipulations by our governments and media to numbingly repeat chosen incidents of outrage, to accommodate the US and NATO’s pension for chilling ‘regime changes’. You would think that after so many lies have been arrogantly admitted to, that all those who advocate ‘never again’ would be out working to unseat each and every party politician or boycott and denounce every benefiting corporation. That appears not to be the case and it truly is bewildering and explains the fear and mistrust slowly eating away our very conscience. These past years have brought forth the acceptance of spying on ones own people, intimating others who object, while we as citizens simply go on paying for these and many other possible criminal behaviors. If my father like many others did not die in vain, we must undo and pursue the values of honesty, trust, not as our media would have us, by glorify the perception of simply gaining by any means without accounting for the real losses felt by those left out or left behind.

  2. C. ClarkNovember 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m certain that if you search and search, you could even find a second veteran who would be willing to wear a white poppy. I had better not see it. This kind of misappropriation of a symbol is the exact same thing that the Taliban and ISIS does when it tries to hijack a whole religious sect for it’s evil cause. Do not STEAL an established symbol, the poppy, and re-commission it for your own use. That’s STEALING! It’s the worst example of plagiarism and the most disrespectful act I can think of! What is wrong with you people? Have you NO imagination at all. Or don’t you see the moral dilemma of riding on the coat-tails of a beloved memorium, while adding sensationalism, controversy and confusion to it’s meaning. If you’re that concerned, wear a peace symbol. But from Oct 29th to sundown Nov 11th there is only ONE colour for poppies RED!!

    • dimitriNovember 12, 2014 at 8:42 am #

      This misappropriation, disrespect and stealing is your perception Mr. Clark. No one is intending to insult you or the symbolism of Remembrance Day. This is not a property that you own. It is a public issue to remember the casualties of war and the peace that is most needed. If you feel slighted and somehow belittled, then I regret that, but you must understand that Peace will always be more important for many of us than War will ever be. This moral dilemma that you mention is all in your head. There are far more sensational outrages that can be done than wearing a white poppy.

  3. Barbara BambigerNovember 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    How about a black poppy for all the children, innocent civilians, animals, & plants killed because we insist that war is inevitable, that we lack the compassion & intelligence to create alternatives.

  4. Anne MilesNovember 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    As soon as I heard of the white poppy campaign a few years back, I wore both– and for the exact same reasons Michael French does. Then I heard that there was a campaign, coming from the Legion, to stop the white poppy campaign on the grounds that the Legion “owns” the poppy symbol! That year I wore no poppies. To have worn the red one seemed to me to support the Legion in this attempt to demonize those of us who believe in peace. To wear the white seemed to be to defy that–and the point of the white poppy is peace, not defiance, so, sadly, I wore no emblems. This year I think I will go back to wearing both, as I don’t believe all veterans or all Legion members are offended by the idea of peace.

  5. Michael WebbNovember 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Intellectually, this is a good idea; but clearly not a winner on Remembrance Day, though, I fear. I have to say that even as a peacenik it makes me uneasy, whether a veteran supports it or not.

    I would concentrate efforts on things that the public can appreciate more readily: government abuse of veterans, which exposes their hypocrisy in this area of “military support” or Conservative “military branding”; the corruption of military expenditure and the obscene excesses of those billions of taxpayer dollars spent; the efforts to merge our military / foreign policy with the Americans’; the attempt to destroy the concept and our legacy of peacekeeping; the notion of diminishing rights through constant fear-mongering, etc.

    I think these provide a much easier avenue to getting Canadians to a place where they can seriously consider war and its uselessness.

    The white poppy thing just seems to piss everybody off.

    • Anne MilesNovember 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      If my wearing both a white and a red poppy pisses anyone off, that is their problem–it is not my intention.

  6. Dave AbbeyNovember 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    good comment Malcolm

  7. susan langNovember 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Thank you. I’ll do the same from now on.