I’m writing in response to the piece written by Red Grossinger, president of the Whitehorse Legion, dated November 10th. I am responding as founder and co-ordinator of the White Peace Dove Campaign, which for the past two years has distributed thousands of White Peace Doves across Canada and around the world in time for Remembrance Day and the UN International Day of Peace on September 21.
Our campaign was born in 2006 when the Alberta-Northwest Territories Command of the Royal Canadian Legion presented cease-and-desist letters to two organizations that were selling white poppies for peace. Although the advice given was that the legal case presented by the Legion was unlikely to stand in court, it would probably be a costly and protracted legal battle. Contrary to what Grossinger suggests, neither the sale nor distribution of either white poppies or white peace doves is at this time illegal, and until there is an official court decision regarding the copyright issues related to the white poppies, it is unlikely that it will ever be illegal to wear one.
Contrary to what Grossinger would suggest, the white poppy and its associated symbolism of ‘no more war’ is a long-standing historical component of Remembrance Day. The white poppy was formalized when the Peace Pledge Union adopted it officially in 1936 as “a definite pledge to peace that war must not happen again.”
Tens of thousands of people wore the white poppy, many alongside the red poppy on Armistice Day (which later became Remembrance Day). In fact in 1938, there were 85,000 white poppies distributed in Britain. While the red poppy has taken over as the primary fundraising mechanism for Legions such as the Royal Canadian Legion, the white poppy does have a strong historical basis in Remembrance Day, and thus a well-deserved place on our lapels on November 11.
The Second World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars. I am proud to know that my grandfather, who was a tailgunner for the duration, and countless other veterans, would not want us to forget that. In the spirit of the historically appropriate white poppy, I choose to wear a white peace dove to complement my Remembrance Day poppy on November 11, to show that I remember the sacrifices of the veterans, that I remember all victims of war, and that I continue the 1936 pledge to peace that war must not happen again.
I welcome people to visit the white poppy website at http://www.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/index.html or the White Peace Dove Campaign at www.whitepeacedoves.org.
Laird Herbert, co-ordinator White Peace Dove Campaign