JACK Newbigging (Letters, November 3) does us all a service by prompting us to think about red poppies. I have given the matter a great deal of thought over the past few years.

Remembrance Day parades and red poppies were introduced to remember those who died in the Great War so that is should "never again" happen. Now they implicitly legitimise the continuing use of armed force.

The Remembrance Day ceremonies, which are frequently militaristic in nature, do nothing for the dead. Their continuation tacitly suggests that all those who have died in the service of their country have been engaged in just causes, whereas most of the fatalities in recent years have been the result of political adventurism of dubious legality. An inevitable consequence of the ceremonies is support for the armament industry and thus these acts of remembrance encourage the continuing use of violence to resolve international problems. BAE Systems, the armament manufacturer, has in the past sponsored national poppy appeals and the links between the Royal British Legion and arms companies are there to see for all who care to look.

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It seems we have become inured to the words of Wilfred Owen, who during the First World War fought in the trenches where he witnessed the use of poison gas:

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est

Pro patria mori.

Peter Martine,

Sruth Ruadh, Milton, Strathconon, Muir of Ord.