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.
In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
The poppy referenced in the poignant poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 is now a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day. These beautiful flowers, which bloom and vanish so quickly, grew across the scared battlegrounds of Flanders during World War 1.
The brilliant red covering the graves of the dead became a symbol of the blood spilt on both sides. The poppy has been used since 1921 to commemorate the fallen, on all sides.
The Royal British Legion is a charity providing financial, social and emotional support to those who have served. The money raised from donations from the poppy appeal helps give this assistance.
“The red poppy is our registered mark, and its only lawful use is to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal” RBL
For us here at Comms it tears through any political grandstanding rather it is an opportunity for those of us fortunate enough never to have served to offer up remembrance and show support.
It is undoubtedly a potent symbol of remembrance of the sacrifice made by millions of men and women in past conflicts.
A poppy, despite its outwardly fragile demeanour, is a hardy plant, which can grow naturally in disturbed earth. One can only imagine the sight that Lieutenant Colonel McCrae witnessed as these vibrant plants grew in their thousands across the barren battlefields of Western Europe in this dark ages in 1915.
We live in an age when we are blessed with so much. Technology is at our fingertips and man has made so many advances. And yet, a beautiful yet straightforward symbol such as the Remembrance Poppy can take us back to horrific wars, wars that are still raging today.
Over 4 million have visited the First World War ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red by the artist Paul Cummins to honour the 888,246 servicemen who died in World War One. Staggering figures. It’s a sombre and yet uplifting memorial.
Lest we forget.