Remembering the Friends Ambulance Unit and All Victims of War, Jordans Friends suggested to Churches together in Beaconsfield that as Quakers we would like to lay a wreath of white poppies on Remembrance Sunday. The other churches were supportive of this idea.
Luckily the day was sunny and warm for November 11th, as there was quite a lot of standing around, as we lined up with many others, including local dignitaries and our MP. There was a crowd of several hundred for the brief outdoor service and two minute silence, before in twos we walked up to the War Memorial and laid our wreaths, then bowed our heads and walked back.
We were told that later at the post-service lunch, Dick Smith, town crier and master of ceremonies, publicly acknowledged the work of the FAU, when explaining the laying of the white poppy wreath, and there was a round of applause.
On Sunday 14th October, a group of Friends from Amersham got together after Meeting for Worship to make white poppies out of a variety of materials, including felt, card, crochet, knitting and lace. We did this as part of the Peace Pledge Union’s Collateral Damage project. Our collection of beautiful poppies – together with three of the British Legion’s red poppies and branches of yew from a Friend’s garden – were then made into a wreath. Sadly, we were refused permission to lay the wreath on the Amersham War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday, but instead we put it on display in our notice board outside in Whielden Street with this message:
Since its inception in 1933, the White Poppy has been a symbol that:
Reminds us of loss of the lives of human beings in war, regardless of which side or nationality they belonged to.
Recognises and mourns the civilians whose lives were also lost, and reminds us that, increasingly in today’s wars, the great majority of victims are civilians, not combatants.
Represents a commitment to seek ways to prevent future wars.