As we approach the 11th November, a time for remembrance and to show a mark of respect, we wear poppies as a symbol of the lives lost as these were the flowers which grew on the battlefields once the bloodshed had ceased.
In 2014, a wave of ceramic poppies adorned the Tower of London, tumbling from one of the windows and encompassed the iconic building. The poppies were placed from July to November 2014 by volunteers, and 888,246 poppies were used to create this dramatic installation. Each Poppy represented a British military fatality.
The installation marked 100 years since the end of the first world war, and each day at the moat at sunset 180 names of commonwealth troops that were killed were read out as a Roll of Honour which were picked on a first come first served bases nomination system. The names were followed by the Last Post in this nightly ceremony.
The poppies were sold off and the money raised from them were split between the six service charities, but the poppies also went on tour.
I was lucky enough to see the installation when it was displayed at Southend and I can say that the sight of so many red ceramic poppies is thought provoking, stunning and a visual reminder of what our brave and inspiring service people go though.
The poppies in the form of wave or weeping windows are still on tour and you can find out about where they will be displayed next here.
If you are wondering what has been done this year to mark Remembrance Day, it is something equally dramatic and thought provoking.
The words of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrea have been spelt out in poppies to give the appearance that they are growing. These can be found across the following locations:-
The Royal Hospital – Chelsea, London, UK
Dunkirk on the Beach – France
White Cliffs of Dover – UK
The National Memorial Arboretum – Staffordshire, UK
Cardiff Bay – Wales, UK
Salford Quays – Greater Manchester, UK
Outside the Sage – Newcastle, UK
The whole poem is resonant and a reminder of what was lost during the first world war.
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.
So please take the time on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour to show your respect with the 2 minute silence. This is not just for those who lost their lives in the first and second world war, but for all the lives lost since then during battle, and protection.
If you haven’t had a chance to buy your poppy and you wish to donate, you can find details here.