Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday Uk Blog - Poppies to Remember
While the US celebrates Veterans Day, around the world the day to remember those who gave up their lives for us is called "Remembrance Day". Canada like the US holds this day on November 11th. While in the UK the national day of remembrance for those killed in both world wars and later conflicts, on the second Sunday of November
Remembrance Sunday is observed by a two-minute silence at the time of the signature of the armistice with Germany that ended World War I: 11:00 am, 11 November 1918 (although since 1956 the day of commemoration has been the Sunday). There are ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, and elsewhere. The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war. Since that time there has also been held a two minutes silence to remember those fallen hero's.
‘Poppies’, symbolic of the blood shed, are sold in aid of war invalids and their defendants.
So why the Poppy?
The ‘Flanders poppies’ have become a cymbal for those who died defending their country originally from the World War I, as per the famous poem by John McCrae.
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.
John McCrae, 1915.
McCrae was a Canadian who enlisted to help the allies in the war. He was made Medical Officer upon landing in Europe. During a lull in the battle with the nub of a pencil he scratched on a page from his dispatch book. The poem found its way into the pages of Punch magazine. By 1918 the poem was well known throughout the allied world.
I must admit, it came as a bit of a shock to find that the whole idea of using the poppy came from an American woman. Moina Michael and American,adopted the custom of wearing a red poppy in memory of the sacrifices of war and also as a symbol of keeping the faith.
A French women, Madam Guerin, visiting the United States, learned of the custom and took it one step further. When she returned to France she decided to hand make the red poppies and sell them to raise money for the benefit of the orphaned and destitute women and children in war torn areas of France. This tradition spread to Canada, The United States and Australia and is still followed today. The money collected from the sale of poppies goes to fund various veterans programs.
BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
"Across the Pond"