On War

Why I Wear My Poppy With Pride

I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, cup of tea by my side and TV on. Nothing unusual there. There’s also nothing unusual in what’s currently showing on my TV; the annual debate in the run up to Remembrance Sunday on whether war can ever be justified.

When I was younger I believed very strongly that war can never be justified. I was a total pacifist. These days, my view has changed. I still believe that peace is infinitely preferable and that war is a ghastly thing and should only be embarked upon as a last resort. I’ve read a lot about World War II in particular and it seems to me that, whatever the justification for other wars, both earlier and, regrettably, later, Hitler and the Nazis absolutely had to be removed. Perhaps the situation should not have been allowed to reach the point it did, and war could thus have been avoided, but having got to that point war was, I believe, entirely necessary.

Even if you think that wars should never be fought, there still remain the incredible sacrifices of those who genuinely believed in what they were doing, not to mention the losses of their families and friends, and the broader loss to society of talent and creativity. Whatever the reason, the sacrifices were made and we should honour those who made them.

So, I buy my poppy (actually, I buy two – one for my jacket and one for my coat) and wear it in remembrance of all those who have died as a result of human violence, willingly or unwillingly, in the hope that it will remind us all that war is truly terrible, that it calls on so many of us to give so much, and that it should never, ever be entered into lightly.

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