UR Opinion

Where are all the poppies this year?

Riley Brooks

By Riley Brooks

Today, I am ashamed. I am ashamed to be a part of a generation who has done a poor job of succeeding our generation’s prior.

The greatest generation that ever existed are now grandparents, great grandparents, or have passed us on. They are the men and women who during World War I and World War II volunteered their freedom, their childhoods and for many, their lives, so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today.

My great granddad, Sam Poland and my granddad, Cliff Brooks were two of those men. Though they were lucky enough to come home after the war, many of their comrades did not. In my life I will never be as great as them, yet to even be related to them I am humbled.

Today marks the eve of the 96th Remembrance Day – a day where on the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, we remember those men and women. At that exact moment, many people take a minute out of their busy lives to offer a moment of silence in respect for our veterans. One single moment is an unequivocally small sacrifice to make, as a thank you to the sacrifice that our veterans made.

It has become tradition that on November 1 of every year, people begin to wear a poppy – the global symbol of remembrance. Pinning that poppy over your heart is an acknowledgement of the freedoms we are all so fortunate enough to experience. We show our appreciation for a democratic society privy to freedom of thought, speech and religion by wearing a poppy. We show our appreciation for the trenches they walked through, the gunfire they hid from and the bodies of their dead brethren they stepped over, by wearing a poppy.

Those veterans are unfortunately and quite literally a dying breed. It is up to my generation to pass on the respect we owe our veterans to younger generations. Because, whether you were as fortunate as me to know a veteran or not, you all have a reason to be thankful.

Yet, as I sit in a room of 30 or so people my age, I count 3 people wearing a poppy. As I walk around my campus, or work at one of my jobs, I am appalled at the amount of people not wearing a poppy.

I am ashamed that my generation is too ignorant and too lazy to get a poppy and wear it.
It is a minor inconvenience. For 11 days, you pin a small red flower over your heart at no cost to you at all, or for a small donation to the Legion, should you choose.

The “sacrifice” you have to make to wear a poppy for 11 days of the year does not even meet the criteria of a sacrifice.

A sacrifice was giving up your childhood and lying about your age so that you can enlist in the military. It was dying for your family and friends, and generations of people to come. It was freezing in a foreign country to liberate people you have never, and will never meet. That was a sacrifice.

So, my generation, take a moment to evaluate your life and realize that without our veterans you could not be doing whatever it is you are doing. Wear a poppy and show some respect.

It is literally the least you could do.

Riley Brooks

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