The man verbally abused while selling poppies in Portadown yesterday has penned an open letter to those responsible.
Che McNally wrote the following letter:
“I am addressing this letter to the group of young nationalist that directed verbal abuse at me whilst I was collecting for the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in Portadown town centre. The poppy is a visible symbol of remembrance. It commemorates all those who died in conflicts throughout the world. It is not political nor is it sectarian. I understand that sections of the community have misgivings about the poppy and I respect those thoughts.
“The Irish government have recently announced their intention to commemorate the Battle of the Somme, a bloody battle that left many households throughout the land grieving loss of a loved one as the war memorial in our own town bears testament to.
“Perhaps if the young nationalists had taken time out to read the names on the memorial they would have noted that protestant, catholic and dissenter are remembered equally for their sacrifice in the defence of freedom. If they wished to read further perhaps they could study Major Willie Redmond, the prominent Irish Nationalist politician who died serving in the British army at the Battle of Messinres in 1917. I noted that one of their number was wearing a Celtic top. Perhaps he could read of Peter Johnstone who played for the Scottish club 223 times. He died at the Battle of Arras in 1917.
“With these facts considered, maybe poppy collectors and those who support the poppy appeal can go about their lives without the threat of further such abuse. We can always hope.”