Ian Wootton writes:
The white and red entwined poppy wreath laid by Bath Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has again this year been removed from the Bath War Memorial.
For the fifth year in succession, and this time within 24 hours of being laid the wreath has been removed from its place amongst the other wreaths placed during the memorial service on Sunday 10 November 2019.
In previous years we have laid wreaths made entirely of white poppies; we altered this to a mix of red and white as a gesture of repect and acknowledgment of any possible previous unintended offence given.
My sense is that the removal has been carried out by the same person or persons. Amongst the various other wreaths at the memorial is a crucifix shaped wreath entirely of white flowers laid by the War Widows Society. It has not been removed.
It would seem that the person or persons removing the Quaker wreath do so specifically because of the association with our Society.
What purpose or outcome is being served by the removal of our wreath?
What is the offence that is being caused? Is the offence caused assuaged by the removal?
What fate befalls the rather beautiful wreath itself? Does it end up in a dustbin? In the fire?
The unintended offence being caused by our placing of our wreath suggests an absence of sensitivity on our part .
I wonder what we Quakers can do to prevent this?
At the centre of our belief is the notion that conflicts are sown like seeds and for some in the community our wreath has created a degree of conflict.
We would be very willing to find out more about the reasons behind the removal of the wreath and try to reconcile the situation and give due regard to the offence that is being caused.
That said if you happen to find it – or even if you yourself happen to have it – please put it back!
Note this article has been updated because we now understand the white cross next to our wreath is made of miniature white chrysanthemums (a flower of mourning) and not of white poppies as we originally suggested.