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Messages for Peace


White poppies

The white poppy has been worn in the run-up to Remembrance Day for 90 years, as a symbol of remembrance and peace. White poppies are worn every year by thousands of people across the UK and abroad. They were first produced in 1933 during the aftermath of the First World War, to hold on to the key message of remembrance, ‘never again’. They stand for three things:

  • Remembrance of all victims of war, including both civilians and members of the armed forces. 
  • Challenging war and militarism, as well as any attempt to glorify or celebrate war. 
  • A commitment to peace and to seeking nonviolent solutions to conflict.

Today, Peace Pledge Union distribute white poppies. You can read more information about white poppies on the Peace Pledge Union website here.

What to do

Tell the group that the white poppy stands for a culture of peace. Ask the group:

  • What does this mean in practice?
  • What steps can we take towards a peaceful future?
  • What can we do as a community and as individuals?

Get the participants to cut out white poppy shapes from paper.

On each shape write down a message for peace: this could be your hopes for the future, an idea for action, or a reflection on effects of war.

Pin these cut outs onto a pin board, a wall or a large piece of paper in the shape of a white poppy wreath.

Bring the group back together and ask them if there was one short message of peace in the middle of the wreath, what would it be? If there are a lot of ideas, have a vote or come up with a message that involves all the statements. Write it down and add this to the centre of your display.

Discussion questions

  • Which messages of peace mean the most to you?
  • Why did you write your message?
  • How do you think others would feel if they saw these messages?

The Peace Pledge Union

White poppies are distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU). PPU are one of the UK’s oldest pacifist organisations. Their campaigns cover peace education, active nonviolence, resisting everyday militarism in our communities and speaking out against military spending and recruitment. 

A note for group leaders 

This activity deals with sensitive subjects, such as the effects of violent conflict, which may be triggering for some people. Some taking part in the activities may have experienced conflict first hand. The activities are meant to encourage discussion of diverse experiences, whilst not putting pressure on anyone to share more than they are comfortable with.

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