This weekend saw a Remembrance Day more inclusive than ever before, with a flurry of red, white and purple poppies throughout the country. White poppy sales broke records, with sales of over 120,000, this being the highest figure since the establishment of the white poppy in 1933. This year also saw the rise of the purple poppy, with 2018 being it’s biggest success since it first appeared two years ago. The red poppy represents British veterans of war, the white all victims of war since and current across all nations and the purple includes service animals past and present.
Alongside the mainstream remembrance ceremonies, hundreds attended alternatives events across the country where white poppy wreaths were laid in favour of international peace and in memory of all victims of all wars. Peace Pledge Union Hosted a large ceremony in London, alongside other peace groups such as Peace News and Network for Peace.
(Photo of white poppies wreaths laid in London, taken and posted by Peace Pledge Union)
Other alternative ceremonies took place across the country, with Brighton Peace and Environment Centre hosting an alternative meditation at the peace statue in Hove, with other notable events taking place in Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Pembroke, Aberstwyth, Exeter, Bath, Stowmarket, Saddleworth, Leamington Spa, Peterborough, Bridgewater and Bury St Edmunds.
The white poppy saw major success in sales this year with more people than ever before choosing to wear and promote the message of the white poppy. Sheffield Lord, Mayor Magid Magid received support upon his choice to wear the White Poppy on the day as he chose to mourn all victims of war, not just British participants. In Dublin, a small Quaker group running a white poppy event received immense public backing from their invitation to join them in making white poppies for part of an art installation for Armistice Day, the group claimed that well over 200 people assisted in making poppies for the project which was a great success for the group.
Alongside the popularity of the white poppy, this year saw an increase in awareness of the purple poppy which seeks to pay tribute to animals from the First World War, those who have been in service since and those who serve today. The war effort of service animals in the FWW was paramount, with up to 8 million horses having died following the war. Various service animals continue to serve today and the purple poppy aims to share their message.
The purple poppy campaign hopes to ensure these service animals are not forgotten and forever remembered alongside their human counterparts. Having only began in 2016, the campaign has made substantial progress in promoting their message and support for service animals.
Exeter Cathedral paid tribute to service animals of FWW with this touching display and shared the images
Details of the Murphy Army’s Purple Poppy Campaign work can be found on their website here: https://purplepoppycampaign.org/#campaign
This weekend shined light onto the fact that people are spreading their tributes not only to the First World War Veterans, but are seeking to not forget all the victims of war previous and ongoing and this message of unity offers a hope for future international peace.