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Veteran’s plan to commemorate animals that died in past wars with purple poppies

Neil Mitchell has raised questions about a plan to commemorate animals that died in past wars, in service of Australia, with purple poppies.

“I wonder whether in a way, that it takes away from the symbolism of the poppy, particularly for Remembrance Day, the symbolism of the red poppy based on the bloodshed in the fields,” Neil said.

“The poppy to me is almost a sacred symbol.

“And to have a purple poppy for the animals potentially undermines the recognition and created confusion around the importance of the ones for people.”

Vietnam Veteran Greg Carter told Neil the planned service later this month will be to highlight horses and dogs.

“I guess you could relate the blood lost on the fields to animals as well,” Greg said.

“I think most people aren’t aware that in World War I there were nine million horses, mules and donkeys that died.

“I feel personally that they’ve sort of been overlooked.

“Those animals, particularly the light horse as an example, they were probably as close to their handler as their mates they were serving with.”

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Neil asked Greg if he was concerned about the symbolism tied to the poppy.

“I am in the sense that whatever you come up with unfortunately someone is going to criticise it,” he said.

“The response we have had so far has been overwhelming, everybody has said the same thing, it’s about time.”

More information on the animals memorial to be held on February 24 at the Cockatoo Rise War Veterans Retreat in Bairnsdale here.

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