The recent story in the world of football is the wearing of poppies by British football teams on their jerseys. It was said that the British teams would not be allowed to wear poppies on their jerseys as the FIFA rule does not allow for wearing things that are of religious or political significance, because football and politics/religion should not mix. FIFA has however ruled that the British teams will not be allowed to have poppies crested on their shirts. Prince Williams and Prime Minister, David Cameron have written to FIFA to reverse its decision.
Below are the answers to the questions you may have on poppies.
Throughout the world the poppy is associated with the remembrance of those who died in order that we may be free, but how many of us are aware of the reason of how and why the poppy became the symbol of remembrance and an integral part of the work of the Royal British Legion? On this page we explain why the poppy is used as the symbol of remembrance.
Why the poppy became the symbol of remembrance
Flanders is the name of the whole western part of Belgium. It saw some of the most concentrated and bloodiest fighting of the First World War. There was complete devastation. Buildings, roads, trees and natural life simply disappeared. Where once there were homes and farms there was now a sea of mud – a grave for the dead where men still lived and fought.
Only one other living thing survived. The poppy flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, brought life, hope, colour and reassurance to those still fighting.
Poppies only flower in rooted up soil. Their seeds can lay in the ground for years without germinating, and only grow after the ground has been disturbed.
￼John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Armed Forces, was so deeply moved by what he saw in northern France that, in 1915 in his pocket book, he scribbled down the poem “In Flanders Fields” .
McCrae’s poem was eventually published in ‘Punch’ magazine under the title ‘In Flanders Fields’. The poppy became a popular symbol for soldiers who died in battle.
Why do we wear a poppy?
In 1918, Moira Michael, an American, wrote a poem in reply, ‘We shall keep the faith’, in which she promised to wear a poppy ‘in honour of our dead’. This began the tradition of wearing a poppy in remembrance.
Where does the money raised from selling poppies go?
Money raised from the selling of poppies in Scotland goes to the Earl Haig Fund and money raised in the rest of the UK and overseas goes to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Benevolent Fund. The money raised for both is ringfenced for providing welfare to those in need – veterans and their dependants.