Kevan Jones MP: Ignore the angry and the ill-informed and support the Poppy Appeal
Support the Poppy Appeal to remember those whose sacrifice helped to build the freedoms we now enjoy, says Kevan Jones MP.
The poppy is our national symbol of remembrance. Wearing it is a simple annual act to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all in this country take for granted today. It also acts as an annual focus for the public to help to financially support the work of The Royal British Legion (RBL) who assist veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces and their families.
The Legion’s network of unpaid volunteers in communities large and small deliver that support. Their support is not determined by gender, social class or race but is provided to those veterans, members of the Armed Forces and their families who are in need.
The needs may be as a direct result of service, but are not always, and working with other charities, the RBL support the Armed Forces community throughout the year.
The RBL, in conjunction with other Armed Forces charities, have also played an important role in advocacy for our veterans’ community, ensuring that the Government of the day gives the priority and support that their commitment and sacrifice rightly deserves.
In this centenary week of the end of the First World War, it is important to remember those lost in that conflict and in others since.
The Poppy Appeal is supported throughout the country. The contribution to our Armed Forces has in the past and does today come from men and women from some of our most deprived communities. I know that it is these communities that are not just proud of the sacrifices made in the past, but are also amongst the biggest supporters of the Poppy Appeal and our Armed Forces community.
In the value-free social media age, it is easy to be cynical and to be critical. Making outrageous and uninformed Trump-style claims about the Poppy Appeal may shock and may raise an individual’s media profile - which may have been their only aim - but adds nothing to serious debate of how we support our Armed Forces community or how we recognise the sacrifices that allow the freedom of speech that we have today.
So my advice is to ignore the angry and the ill-informed and to support the Poppy Appeal. Wearing a poppy is an act of remembrance - remembrance of millions of ordinary men and women who through their sacrifice in the past and today have helped to build the free, and democratic society we live in.
Kevan Jones is Labour MP for North Durham and a former Defence Minister.