White poppy event remembers all victims of war

A POIGNANT white poppy event in Uppermill reflected on peace and remembered all victims of war on Remembrance Sunday.

The event, organised by Saddleworth Peace Group, saw members and supporters gather at the Peace Pole in St Chads Gardens (by the library).

There were short readings by Magda Sachs, Phillida Shipp, and David Shipp, who reminded the gathering that November 13 is World Kindness Day.

Cllr Barbara Beeley, vice-chair of Saddleworth Parish Council and their Peace Champion, laid a wreath of white poppies at the foot of the Peace Pole before a minute’s silence was held.

The declaration on the wreath reads: “For all those who have died or are dying in wars, who have died or are dying because resources that could have fed or housed them have been wasted on war and war preparations, who will die until we learn to live in peace.”

Cllr Beeley said: “Looking at the world today, I am sure we have gone backwards from last year.

“But do we give up? Never. We go down trying to promote peace at all costs.

“In the world today we have got so much anger, aggression, conflict and genocide. It’s easy to think what we I do as an individual.

“We can get together with like-minded people and have a bigger voice and keep pushing the cause of peace.”

Magda listed current and recent conflicts, including Ukraine, Congo, Yemen and civil war in Somalia.

She said: ““It is a really difficult moment for those interested in peace. Speaking up for peace is not the easy option.

“Lots of politicians and governments seem to be supporting conflict. We must continue to press them to change that and find peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

“We have got to stand in solidarity with others who actually want peace.”

Another special guest was Debbie Abrahams, MP of Oldham East and Saddleworth and Chair of the All Party Group for Compassionate Politics, who spoke of Nelson Mandela and his quest for peace and unity.

She added: “I got into politics because I wanted to reduce inequalities. We must keep pushing and we will be in a better place to get the peace we need.”

  • It is 90 years since white poppies were first produced in the aftermath of World War 1 by members of the Co-operative Women’s Guild to hold on to the key message of Remembrance Day – ‘never again’.

The white poppy stands for three primary ideas: remembrance of all victims of war, including civilians and members of the armed forces, and those killed now and in the past; challenging war and militarism, as well as any attempt to glorify or celebrate war; and a commitment to peace and seeking nonviolent solutions to conflict.

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