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Remembrance Sunday: The Story of the Poppy

Remembrance Sunday, which falls on 8 November 2015, is a day for the nation to remember and honour those who have given their lives to secure and protect our freedom. The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day. But how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance?

Scarlet corn poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies.

 

What the poppy means

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle scarred fields, to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

When the Royal British Legion was formed in 1921 it launched its first ever Poppy Appeal, which saw the sale of 9 million poppies, raising over £106,000. The money raised was used to help World War I veterans with employment and housing.

Today, the poppy continues to be a symbol of hope and remembrance and is worn by millions worldwide.

In 2014, to mark 100 years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper’s creation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of the Red’ was installed at the Tower of London. This work of art which filled the Tower's moat, featured 888,246 ceramic poppies, with each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war. Around 4 million people visited the display, between 17th July and 11th November.

Our own heritage stems back to 1922, to find out more about the humble beginnings of Zoflora click here.

 

Posted by Zoflora (06/11/2015)