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Monday, 24 November 2008

Red Poppies of Flanders Fields

 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
At 11am on the 11th November 1918 the guns of the Western front fell silent after four years of continuous warfare. In the devastation of the trenches only one small delicate flower continued to grow, the Red Poppy. Its seeds some of which may have lain dormant in the soil for years, thrived amongst so much destruction.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
Three years before the guns fell silent Lt Col. Doctor John McCrae, a Canadian, described this in his poem 'In Flanders Fields'.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
In 1918 after the guns fell silent an American lady Moina Michael so touched by John McCrae's words wrote her own poem in response 'We Shall Keep Faith' and promised to wear a poppy in memory of the dead, and so the tradition of wearing a poppy on Remembrance day was born.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
In 1921 Frenchwoman Madame Guerin persuaded Earl Haig that the Red Poppy of Flanders should be adopted by the Royal British Legion as a symbol of Remembrance after selling poppies to raise money for the devastated areas of France.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
In 1922 Major George Howson, the founder of the Disabled society suggested to the Royal British Legion that members of his society could make poppies and from then on the poppy factory provided employment to disabled people, who in turn raised funds for ex service personnel.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
Today one can see around the villages of North Hampshire, memorials to our war dead. On Remembrance Sunday and Armistice day poppies are laid in commemoration.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
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.
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
 WE SHALL KEEP FAITH
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields
Sleep sweet-to rise anew
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high we keep the faith
With all who died
And now the torch and poppy red
We wear in honour of our dead
 Red Poppies of Flanders Fields
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2 comments:

Barbarapc said...

Simon,
One of the first poems we had to memorize - so lovely to see the red poppies growing. I've only seen the plastic backed felt ones that the Veterans sell every November. Wonder if I could find some seed to put in our neighbour Ted's garden - at 86 he still puts on his uniform every November 11th.

simon tinks davis said...

Hi Barbara, good to talk to you again. How lovely you knew that poem, written indeed by your countryman. I hope Ted keeps putting on his uniform for many years to come. Best wishes, Simon.