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Wearing the honourable poppy is not political

As Remembrance Day draws near, it is gratifying to see that more nationalist politicians, north and south, are now wearing the poppy as an act of respect.

But some nationalists still appear to disapprove of the wearing of this symbol. To these I would appeal to see it in the following perspective.

Although I come from a unionist background, I am now apolitical. I recognise the misdeeds perpertrated by the English against Ireland in centuries gone by.

No one can forget, for example, the murderous savagery of the Cromwellian armies of the 17th century, or the cold indifference of the English to the famine years of the 19th century.

I, too, acknowledge the injustices which gave birth to the Troubles. But Ireland sometimes becomes a little tedious, small-minded and self-centred.

As someone who has had the advantage of living abroad for many years, I have on occasions been able to look back at my native land with a little detachment and at times it seems to make a virtue of wallowing in the sins committed against it in the past.

At times, it is difficult to remember that it was once the cultural centre of Europe, drawing many pilgrims from lands far afield to study.

At this time in our history, when we are still in the infancy of bringing our two cultures together, it is surely time we all accepted that the wearing of the poppy is an honourable, non-political act.

ALAN SIMPSON

Tempo, Co Fermanagh

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