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PEACE campaigners have praised the St John Ambulance charity for allowing workers to wear white poppies in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.
The rules previously said a British Legion red poppy could be worn, but they have now been amended to say that a poppy is allowed without specifying the colour.
White poppies represent remembrance of all victims of war of all nationalities, a commitment to peace and a rejection of attempts to glamorise or sanitise war.
The British Legion red poppies commemorate only British and allied armed forces personnel.
Changes were made after St John Ambulance volunteer Simone Ramacci asked to be allowed to wear a white poppy while on duty.
Mr Ramacci, a member of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), said he could not “in good conscience” wear the red poppy as it has gone from representing remembrance of war deaths to being “a symbol of lip service to ‘our troops’.”
He added that the symbol lets the government outsource veteran support to a charity that accepts money from weapons manufacturers.
“I hope more organisations will follow St John Ambulance's lead in becoming more inclusive,” Mr Ramacci said.
PPU co-ordinator Symon Hill said the organisation was pleased by the charity’s recognition that many people wish to remember victims of war without the military associations of the red poppy.
He said: “How we remember the past affects how we live in the present. It’s vital that we value non-British lives and civilian lives as much as the lives of British military personnel.
“Remembrance is an important and sensitive topic and we need to listen to each other’s perspectives.”
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