Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Poppies

I was wondering why do they pass out poppies at on 
Veteran's Day or Remembrance Day, as Grandma B always called it.

So, I will admit there are a few stories about why.
But, this is the story I found the most reference to:

The story goes that, following one of the bloodiest battles of World War I, in the fields of Flanders in western Europe, when the ground was completely churned up and muddied, thousands of red poppies sprang up. The seeds had lain dormant in the soil and, after being aerated with the churning of the soil from the soldiers' boots and fertilized with their blood, the poppies grew abundantly, springing forth new life from death. 

In Flanders Fields

"In Flander's Field" Painting by Willy Werner

Another reason poppies came to such prominence in association with World War I is because of how they were immortalized in that most famous poem of WWI, In Flanders Fields, written by John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade. This poem is spoken at memorial services everywhere on both ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.


It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict.

So, if you are out and about today and you see someone selling these.
Be Sure to buy one.

I have a bouquet of them from over the years, but now I know why I have them.
Did you know why they used Poppies or was I the only one who didn't know.


Saimi said...

Oh my this post gave me the goosebumps. I happen to have Poppies popping up in the spring, I'll forever think of your post when I see them.

Thanks for sharing this information.

Kelley Highway said...

I learned a lot in this post!

Kelley Highway said...

I learned a lot in this post!

Cynthia said...

I knew pieces of the poppy story but not all of the information you shared. I have seen a field like this. There was (is?) a farmer between Logan and Tremonton who planted Flander's Poppies (papaver rhoeas) over several dozen acres and it is a sight to behold when in bloom. Haven't see it since my USU days 20 years ago but, oh, what a sight. I can only imagine how much more meaningful it would be in the real location.