Bath is fortunate still to have a local newspaper, and this week Bath Quakers Jane Stephenson and Lin Patterson had a letter published in the Bath Chronicle.
They explain Bath Quakers’ position on remembrance and the historic background of the white poppy symbol which is often misrepresented or misunderstood.
The text of Jane and Lin’s letter to the Bath Chronicle is below.
On Sunday 11th November, Bath Quakers will again be taking part in the ceremony at the Bath War Memorial.
With the respectful acknowledgement of the British Legion, we have laid a white poppy wreath for the last two years.
Each time the wreath has been removed in the days after the event.
We are hurt by this action and would like to take the opportunity to explain the origins and purpose of the white poppy.
It was launched in 1933, a few years after the red poppy, by the Co-operative Women’s Guild.
These were wives, daughters, sisters and cousins of soldiers killed and wounded, who were challenging society to prevent this kind of catastrophe happening again.
They were seeking to find other ways to resolve conflict and an end to all war.
Proceeds from the sale of white poppies fund peace education work.
Our white poppy wreath is laid out of respect for all people killed, maimed, wounded and traumatised by war, civilians and military personnel from all sides involved in conflict.
Many people wear both the white and red poppy.
This year Bath Quakers will be laying two attached wreaths, one white and one red, to convey the complexity of this issue.
It demonstrates our respect for the event and all participants, and our compassion for fallen military personnel and their families.
At the same time it confirms our remembrance of all victims of war and our determination to work for the peaceful resolution of all conflicts.
We hope that this year our wreath will be respected and remains where it is laid.
Jane Stephenson and Lin Patterson