The Poppy

As 11 November approaches, we looked the significance of the poppy in remembrance. We discussed the current Ceramic Poppy artwork ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London. When the work is complete, there will be 888,246 poppies in the installation, each commemorating a British military fatality during the war. We also discussed the names being read out on the Roll of Honour at the Tower of London in the nightly ceremonies there.

We learned the significance of the poem In Flanders Field in the poppy becoming a symbol of remembrance and how this symbol is unique to Britain.

We also discussed the role of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig in the Poppy Appeal originally and the Royal British Legion, and poppies being sold by ex-servicemen to raise funds for those wounded in war.

 

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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