Friends Lin Patterson and Claire Marrack laid a wreath on behalf of Bath Quakers by the Bath war memorial at the official remembrance ceremony. Lin writes:
After the ceremony the Sergeant in charge came over to us and apologised for problems in the past and said he’d contacted everyone beforehand explaining about all the different coloured poppies now available and how they are all welcome. It was very touching, and we thanked him for it.
As well as the red poppy Bath Quakers used the white poppy distributed by the Peace Pledge Union. That does convey a distinctly different message; it specifically commemorates all victims of war – military and civilian on every side – and pledges to peaceful resolution of future conflict. This is not intended to create tension or undermine anyone else’s remembrance; it reflects Quakers’ discomfort with the tendency to militarism, and commitment to work actively for solely peaceful means of resolving future disputes.
Confusion and even hostility to this different viewpoint has led to Bath Quakers’ white poppy wreath being vandalised and stolen in past years to our dismay. Please keep an eye out for our red and white poppy wreath this year.
Nevertheless we’re very grateful to be invited and included in the official ceremony, and for the understanding shown.