Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Poppies ~ Symbol of Memorial Day

The Flanders poppy, also known as red poppy, corn poppy and field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is native to the Mediterranean and areas of Europe. The tiny seeds can sit in the soil for decades until the soil is disturbed and they come back to life. They are spread on the boots of soldiers and by the winds and birds, by tires on bicycles and cars. It is believed that they were spread to Britian on the boots of Roman soldiers.

During WWI the soils were disturbed around trenches, craters and graves. When Spring came, the poppies grew. John McCrae, an aide station doctor observed the poppies and wrote the touching poem In Flanders Field in 1915. The war raged for three more years, and each Spring where graves had been dug, the poppies bloomed on them.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

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.

When you see the red poppies, remember the fallen that have given so much for each of us.

We have an area of our yard where we have Flanders poppies growing... never forget.


parasols and maryjanes said...

Your compilation of Memorial Day photos was beautiful. I especially liked the closeup of the poppy. Your thoughts and tributes speak well of our fallen and the memories we keep. Thank you.
Carol R
(The flag on my blog is my husband's--who lies in Arlington)

Flag Gazer said...

Thank you, Carol...