The white poppy and standing for peace in a chaotic world

Remembrance Day is fast approaching. It’s a time when we don brilliant, red poppies to remember those who have died since 1914 in wars fought by the Canadian military. In recent years, you may have seen a growing number of people on Bowen wearing a white poppy. And some people wear a red and a white poppy, together! 

You may have wondered why.

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 The white poppy commemorates all other innocent victims of war: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and all the children who sadly never got to give their gifts and fulfill their full potential. The white poppy is also a simple, beautiful declaration and commitment to ending war. 

It’s a call for dialogue and peaceful, conflict resolution. 

Last year, an estimated 16,000 Canadians and 1,600 school children chose to wear white poppies. Many people wear both a red poppy to remember the military personnel who were killed as well as a white poppy to remember the more than 200 million civilian victims of war who have died since the First World War and to show their commitment to building a better, peaceful future for all. 

Another beautiful way of bringing in peace is the simple act of singing together in harmony. There are countless songs about peace and unity, which speaks to the flame of desire of humans to live in harmony. 

For many years, Brian Hoover and Shasta Martinuk have hosted a beautiful, inspiring event called “Songs for Peace and Community” on the afternoon of Remembrance Day.

This is an opportunity, once the cenotaph ceremony of honouring fallen soldiers is complete, to focus on peace in community, through singing and by reflecting on how we can create greater peace.

What can you do to stand for peace? Here are some suggestions: 

1. Commit to one action that you feel passionate about to create greater inner peace. Or commit to one action to create greater peace and calm in your family, school or in our community 

2. Make your own white poppy (see how at or purchase one to wear (white poppies are available by donation at Cates Pharmacy).

3. Attend Songs for Peace and Community at Bowen Court from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. (no charge, donations for space welcome).

These are only a few ideas.

 I’m sure you can think of many more. 

If you decide to take action for peace, know that your individual commitment creates greater peace for all of us. 

You make a difference.

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