White poppy wearers concerned for peace too

Sandra Greenberg believes that despite acts of remembrance, today, some things are forgotten on Remembrance Day.

“We need to work for peace,” she said. “War is harmful not just for the people who fight, (but also) to their families, to people that get caught up in the destruction and environment destruction.”

Greenberg serves on the board of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW). She believes that the red poppy may not paint a full picture of remembrance and loss.

Inspired by the Women’s Co-operative Guild in England, long time peace activist Bruna Nota, invited VOW members to her nursing home on a Monday afternoon to handcraft white poppies representing a commitment to peace and end to war and militarism.

Navy veteran Ross Green, 87, supports the idea and has begun distributing white poppies at his church congregation in Thorndale.

“We emphasize war and soldiers and sailors and air men to the detriment of the civilians, who died during the war as a result of the war,” Green said. “Nobody says anything about the woman and children that are dead.”

The white poppy dates back to 1926 when the Women’s Co-operative Guild in England began to wear and distribute them in remembrance of their husbands and children who died in war. It’s meant to compliment the red poppy and refocus the discourse on Remembrance Day to include talks about civilians, peace and non-violence. Sandra Ruch serves as co-ordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.

“We make sure that we say wear you red poppy beside your white poppy,” she said. “We’re not in competition. We’re not selling them. We … are making a statement about peace.”

Green agrees.

“It represents everybody who died in war,” he said. “It’s not disrespectful. I’m gonna wear a red poppy on Remembrance Day, but I’m also gonna wear a white poppy.”