United Shades of Britain

What passing-bells for those who die like cattle?

Two weeks ago, I was asked by a young American if I could explain something for her. Of course, I said, and from her bag she pulled the familiar symbol of this season – a small paper poppy on a green plastic stem.

“What does it mean?”

I explained to her, as succinctly as I could, about the First World War and the massacres in the poppy fields of Flanders. About John McCrae’s poem and finally that it is sold to raise money “for veterans”.

She was surprised. She had seen many famous people on TV and in the papers wearing them and thought it was “some celebrity thing” and had been therefore equally surprised to see these paper ones on sale at the front desk in our office.

I, however, was not surprised, not just because she is not from this…

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