Posted by: Nathan M. | November 1, 2011

What Happened to the Poppy?

As I was standing at the bus stop today waiting for my bus to come, I noticed a poppy lying on thePoppy in the Mudground. That reminded me that Remembrance Day was fast approaching, and I should probably be wearing a poppy, especially since I am in a political science MA program, and it is highly likely that the majority of my colleagues would have already donned theirs. Not wanting to be the one who seemed unpatriotic and supportive of those who gave their lives for various causes throughout Canadian history, I discretely picked up the poppy and pinned it to my jacket. The bus arrived, and I proudly mounted the stairs with the knowledge that I would not be seen as forgetting the important time of remembrance (and yes, I do note the irony). As I moved to a seat, I noticed that I need not have worried about my immediate vicinity, since I could not see a single other individual with the red symbol pinned on their attire. Still, I assumed that I would see more of the red flowers upon arriving at my University, and still more among my political science colleagues. However, as I walked to my class after arriving at the institution, I noticed that I could not see ANY poppies. In fact, I was not able to find a single poppy aside from my own. I still held out hope however, that I would see some among those who are dedicated to studying the institutions that were being defended by those that we remember. I arrived in class and was relieved to see another poppy pinned onto a coat. Then I realized that it was the only poppy in sight, aside from my own.

The entire day I only saw two poppies, one of which had somehow found its way onto the ground. This has gotten me thinking about Remembrance Day a great deal. Do we remember? I remember when I was younger, many of my teachers could recall experiencing some of the calamities, or at the very least the fear that came with WWII and the Cold War. Every student could be seen proudly wearing the poppy as a result, trying to imagine in their childish mentality what it must have been like to sacrifice one’s own life for the greater good. I must admit, I was never very good at this activity-I could not really conceive of a world that was rife with instability. Now I wonder if I was not alone in this failing. I wonder if many of my childhood friends and acquaintances never learned how to remember that which they had never experienced themselves. Can we remember? I think we should if it is at all possible, but how much plausibility is there in it? How long before Remembrance Day becomes a holiday, and simply that?

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