Monday, May 27, 2013

SOMETHING TO PONDER (The Story of the Poppy)

     The poppy flower only grows in the absence of other flowers and only in ground that has been churned.
    In perhaps the best known poem of World War I, when Dr. John McCrae observed poppies growing between the crosses on the soldiers' graves, it inspired him to write the poem "In Flanders Fields".
     The poppy has since become known as "The Flower of Remembrance" and is worn in memory of our veterans.


     The Eygyptians considered the poppy to symbolize eternal life and consolation. They used the red poppy at funerals and left them in tombs.
     "In Flanders Fields" poppies grew with abandon in Flanders after the Napoleon Wars when the fields were disturbed by fighting. They reappeared in World War I for the same reason. Following an exhausting day caring for the wounded in 1915, Lt. Col. John McCrae saw the poppies and was inspired by them, associating the red poppy with those who had fallen in battle. He wrote a poem called  "In Flanders Fields," which begins: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row by row..."

"We Shall Keep the Faith"
Moina Michael read "In Flanders Fields" and was inspired to write her own poem in 1918 called, "We Shall Keep the Faith". In this poem, she included a promise to wear red poppies to remember the dead.



Native to just about every continent in the world, poppies symbolize several concepts, especially those related to life and death.


In general, the poppy means eternal sleep, oblivion, sacrifice and imagination. The flower also symbolizes magic, consolations, fertility and eternal life.


The red poppy signifies sacrifice. The flower is used to honor soldiers, particularly in Canada. The connection began during Napoleonic wars of the 19th century. The war-disturbed soil uncovered poppy seeds that grew to cover the fighting fields in a sea of red. During the First World War, Flanders came alive with poppies, when the effects of the war disappeared, the poppies did too. The poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae renewed the poppies' connection to war and death.


In 1920, the American Legion agreed to adopt the red poppy as the national symbol of remembrance.


Inspired by the message of "We Shall Keep the Faith", a Frenchwoman, Madame E. Guerin, decided to make red paper poppies to wear on Remembrance Day to remember those who had fallen.