The remembrance poppy has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields”, they were first used by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers who died in that war (1914–1918). They were then adopted by military veterans’ groups in some Commonwealth states: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Today, they are mainly used in the UK and Canada to commemorate their servicemen and -women who have been killed since 1914. There, small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing on Remembrance Day/Armistice Day (11 November) and in the weeks before it. Poppy wreaths are also often laid at war memorials.
Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Feild” on May 3rd 1915 he was inspired to write it on after funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer (who died in the Second Battle of Ypres).
It’s one of the more popular poems associated with the end of the First World War and therefore Rememberance Day.
“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.”
I’ve always loved that poem and with the controversy about the white and red poppy I felt like posting this~
Today Is an incredibly important and solemn day for all Canadians. Remembrance day this year represents 100 years since the beginning of the First World War, the war we went into as a colony and left as a nation. Today we reinvent our war memorial to include all the fights that have taken place since World War 2, and all the fights that are still taking place. Today we honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who just two weeks ago was shot and killed only feet away from the tomb of the unknown soldier, a place to honour all those lost in battle. It is important that all of us take a moment today to remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women in our country’s history that have sacrificed everything for us. Lest We Forget.