Do you remember the Red Poppy Day that was observed during your school days? We were always reminded of Red Poppy Day towards the end of the third term before the closure of the school year. Artificial red poppies would be sold to us who would then pin it to our collar lapels or shirt pockets. The reason for the school selling or the kids buying the red poppy was never properly explained to us or if it had, we were too young to understand it.
I wouldn't fault you if you don't know what this day is all about. After all, the tradition died out in Malaysia many decades ago. I would think that we last observed it in the early 1960s. That would be my primary school days.
Frankly, I had forgotten about Red Poppy Day until I saw this online news item. A drunken 19-year-old university student was photographed urinating on a war memorial in Sheffield recently. As can be seen from the picture, he was aiming at a bunch of red poppies It sparked public outrage across Britain. Disrespect for their fallen war heroes, etc etc...
Red Poppy Day arose because of an incident during the first World War. From what I know now, the soil of the Western Front contained thousands of dormant poppy seeds that were churned up so much that the poppies bloomed like never before.
In Britain, Red Poppy Day is also known as Remembrance Day, a special day in November for the country to remember their fallen war heroes. Other countries in the West call this special day by other names. For instance, the United States calls it Veterans Day while France uses Armistice Day. Wherever this special day is observed, it is taken very seriously with disrespect being avoided at all costs. Hence, the outrage in Britain over the weekend.