at the Conscientious Memorial Stone, London.                                             | back

White poppy wreath on Conscientious Objectors Memorial Remembrance Day 2011
| Introduction | Two Poems | Every Casualty |                        Remembrance Day


The PPU laid a white poppy wreath at the Conscientious Objectors Memorial Stone in Tavistock Square, rather than at the Cenotaph as we did in the 1980s and 1990s. We chose this place of peace to remember those who resist war, all over the world, many of whom have been imprisoned, suffered and died as a result. The themes for our ceremony were that remembrance must involve working against war to make sure it never happens again, and that remembrance must be inclusive of all the victims of war including the millions of civilians whose lives are rarely commemorated. We had chosen two poems to reflect these themes, and our speaker from Every Casualty stressed the importance of remembering the individuals who die in war not just as numbers but as people with names and lives.

The Peace Pledge Union’ origins are rooted in Remembrance. Our founder, Dick Sheppard, was a military chaplain for a time in WW1. He was the first to oppose the official forms of Remembrance commemoration, including Victory Balls, and to create his own alternative Remembrance events. The words of the original PPU pledge were taken from an Armistice Day sermon preached in America in 1933 by another former military chaplain, Dr. Fosdick, as an apology to the Unknown Soldier, for sending him off to war. ‘I renounce war because of what it does to our own men… I renounce war because of what it compels us to do to our enemies…I renounce war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatred it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracy, for the starvation that strikes after it.

I renounce war and never again, directly or indirectly, will I sanction or support another.
O Unknown Soldier … I make you that pledge.’ [*]

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