By John Enefer, Hastings Against War

Last Saturday Hastings Against War (HAW) held its annual remembrance for all victims of war at the war memorial in Alexandra Park. Local people, including Council leader Peter Chowney, gathered to remember the victims, military and civilian alike, before a wreath of white poppies was laid at the memorial.

At a short service Rona Drennan of HAW related that the white peace poppy can be traced back to the Women’s Co-operative Guild.  In 1933 members of the Guild, some of whom had lost loved ones in World War I, were the first to sell the white poppy. In 1934 the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), which campaigns for “a warless world”, began distributing the white poppy as an alternative symbol to create a different culture of remembrance. 

She quoted an article by Geoff Tibbs of the PPU in which he describes this culture as being one of “humility, education and deeper understanding. By clearing a space for remembrance of all victims of war on all sides, the white poppy rejects triumphalist narratives of our violent past and challenges perspectives that omit large parts of the world.”

Ms Drennan said: “We lay this wreath of white poppies in remembrance of those who died in uniform, the civilians who died, and those who were left to mourn them”.

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