The Poppy is widely accepted as the flower of remembrance for many battles. November is the time to remember those that sacrificed their lives and health so that we could live ours comfortably today. The red poppy is accepted as the flower to commemorate the soldiers who fought for our freedom. The Armistice declarations were made from October 17 to 11th November 1918, to end four long years of bloody conflict. The red poppy said to be the Miracle flower is the main flower used in commemorations, it has been one hundred years since the Great war.
The field poppy is an annual plant which flowers in spring each year. Its seeds are disseminated on the wind and can lie dormant in the ground for a long time. If the ground is disturbed the early spring seeds will germinate and the poppy flowers will grow. This is what happened in parts of the front lines of Belgium and France. Once the ground was disturbed by the fighting, the poppy seeds lying in the ground began to germinate and grow during the warm weather in the spring and summer months of 1915, 1916, 1917 and 1918. The field poppy was also seen blooming in parts of the Turkish battlefields on the Gallipoli peninsular when the ANZAC and British Forces arrived at the start of the campaign in April 1915.
Poppies growing during and after such devastation deeply affected soldiers such as Dr John McCrae who was also a gunner.
At the second battle of Ypres in 1915, when in charge of a small first-aid post and after losing a mate, he wrote in pencil on a page torn from his dispatch book.
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.
Moina Michael who worked at the War Secretaries Office read the poem in a ladies magazine and was moved so much that she campaigned for the red poppy to become the National memorial symbol. An emblem that would remind us of those who had not returned home to celebrate the war. In her autobiography, she wrote that she had made a spiritual connection with the fallen soldiers through the poem. She felt compelled to respond to their calling of keeping the faith. The red poppy’s growth is a reminder of never losing faith in their bravery. As the poems words had expressed the way nature had memorialized his brothers.
John Mcrae’s words help us visualize the devastation left by the bloody battle and with the words,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved, now we lie in Flanders fields” Living only in our memories “To you from failing hands we throw The Torch be yours to hold it high!
In the movie by Russell Crowe The Water Diviner one of the characters played was a Turkish Officer who after four years was in Gallipoli helping a team of Australian military identify the remains of all the soldiers. This character reminded me of the flanders poem when he said,
Some things should never be forgotten
In this scene he was talking about forgiveness and why man should never forget and forgive themselves for the carnage the 1st world war had brought to the world and the impact of the lost generations. Those that had a life and a future.