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A personal choice which Fifa should stay out of.

Byline: Tanni Grey-Thompson

MY grandfather fought in the First World War, and like so many of his generation he never spoke about it.

The only thing we knew was that he was in Sanctuary Wood, and all he said was 'some Sanctuary'. I was brought up to watch the Remembrance Day services and this year I will be going to one in Yarm to lay a wreath on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant who can't be in every place at once.

Now the wearing of poppies has become more political. I do wear one most of the time, but I have a habit of losing them and then buying more - though that is not a bad thing.

However I do think that the wearing, or not, of a poppy has to be about personal choice.

I will never know what any of our soldiers will have gone through in the battlefield, and I am lucky that I will never have to know.

I have met many people who have served in a number of wars (and work with a few). I believe that it is a nice thing to do to show support for what many people have done for us.

The words of Winston Churchill still ring true about "Never was so much owed by so many to so few". I walk past his statue most days in work, and the damage that was done to the building, and every day it is hard not to think about the devastation of war.

For me it was never a celebration of war, but a thank you for what so many people have given us.

There are lots of things that are pretty tough about living in the UK, but we have a level of freedom that doesn't exist in many countries around the world where I have been, and we should be grateful for that. And I still think that it should be a choice whether someone wears a poppy. Everyone has a right to their own opinion.

That is not to say that I am very happy with Fifa right now who have banned the wearing of them.

Much as I don't think sport and politics should be combined (although of course they are), I don't think it is a bad thing to have degree of remembrance over the devastation of war.

The IOC has the Olympic Truce where all countries competing at the Games are meant to lay down their arms, at least for the duration of the Games, so why shouldn't Fifa do something similar? Football can bring so many people together; that could be used an an opportunity to remember. We should all remember, in our own way.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2016
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