The poppy from Flanders Field in Belgium has become the most visible symbol of Anzac remembrance. When I was a very young child my father taught me the John McCrae poem: “In Flanders fields, the poppies blow, beneath the crosses…” Today New Zealanders and Australians will wear poppies in remembrance as we mark ANZAC day.
More than 1.5% of all New Zealanders died in the first World War, and just under 1% in WWII. Many other New Zealanders have also died in too many wars since.
We are slow to learn that the violence of war can never deliver the depth and stability of peace for which the human heart longs.
As Pope Francis reflected on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War:
“With the heart of a son, a brother, a father, I ask each of you, indeed for all of us, to have a conversion of heart: to move on from “What does it matter to me?”, to tears: for each one of the fallen of this “senseless massacre”, for all the victims of the mindless wars, in every age”.
Pope Francis 13 September 2014