British Legion insists Remembrance Day is a matter of personal choice after Cambridge student decision sparks major row
PUBLISHED: 11:42 15 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 15 October 2018
Students in Cambridge receive death threats after calls for more Remembrance Day support were rejected
The Royal British Legion insist that whether people decide to celebrate Remembrance Day must remain a matter of ‘personal choice’ after Cambridge university students sparked a major row by refusing to support it.
Some students have since received death threats and ‘extreme online abuse’ after a proposal to encourage more students to remember British war veterans on Remembrance Day was rejected.
A motion, proposed by the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA), urged the university to undertake greater recognition of the nation’s war vets, particularly on Remembrance Day.
But it was replaced by an alternative version which removed the words ‘British war veterans’ and ‘Remembrance Day’ in order to reflect the university’s international status.
The amendment also crossed out that the ‘general valour, courage and heroism of serving and formerly serving members of the British armed forces is deserving of our sympathy’.
The decision prompted widespread condemnation, both locally and nationally, but the Royal British Legion, who run the Poppy Appeal, said it was up to individuals make their own choice.
A spokesperson for the RBL said: ‘We take the view that Remembrance honours the sacrifices and contributions our Armed Forces community have made in defence of freedom, and so how people choose to Remember, or not to, must be a matter of personal choice. If Remembrance became compulsory it would lose its meaning and significance.”
Timur Coskun, chairman of CUCA, said: “It’s such a shame that you don’t see many students wearing poppies around Remembrance Day. To vote our motion down is downright disgusting.
“This is the 100th year since the end of the First World War and for CUSU not to recognise that is just not right. It’s disrespectful”.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer: “This decision brings great shame to Cambridge and the good name of this otherwise fine institution. We must never normalise such disdain towards our armed forces.”
Even footballers condemned the decision with former Arsenal full-back Lee Dixon tweeting: “Sums this generation up. No words. No two words. Disgusting. Disrespectful”.