I know many of you will be familliar with the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those killed during war. But are you familiar with the purple poppy? They are appearing on lapels more often these days but why are they worn? What is their symbology?
The purple poppy has been adopted as the symbol of animal sacrifice during war. Certain animals, such as horses, dogs, donkeys, rats and pigeons have been utilised in wartime service and sacrificed for a wholly human cause. Many people consider these animals to have been victims of war, whose untimely deaths should never be forgotten.
There has been an element of contention about whether wearing a purple poppy glorifies the war service of the animal rather than honouring the truth of its conscription and compulsory duty, all of which make it a victim of war. While the wearer of the purple poppy is responsible for their own belief about its symbology, I trust that most fair-minded folk would see that no animal chooses to participate in war and perpetrate against people. Animals have the most innocent of motives, and while participating in this service to human-created conflict, they have been subjected to wounding and death.
While wearing a purple poppy, it might be decent to remember not only the innocent sacrifices of the animals drawn into war, but to reflect on ourselves as perpetrators, capable of extreme horror towards our fellow creatures. I know this is the attitude with which I will wear my purple poppy. Lest we forget all that we truly are.
Lisa Foley creates one-of-a-kind purple, red and white poppy jewellery pieces, and sparkly poppy collar tags for pets to wear on occasions like Remembrance Day. As one purple poppy customer remarked, “The sparkle of the purple poppy signifies the special connection between people and their animals”.