Friday, 2 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Poppies for Remembrance.

I have wondered for quite a while now why we have the poppy as the symbol of Remembrance. So I decided to do a bit research and this is what I discovered.

A young Canadian medical officer named John McRae was serving in a field hospital in the year 1915 near Ypres. While attending to the wounded and dying soldiers he would look from his window upon masses of Corn poppies growing over graves and through the trenches. These beautiful poppies made him remember a Greek legend that said the poppy was created by the god of sleep and so to McRae the poppy symbolised the everlasting rest of the fallen and he was inspired to right a paoem called "In Flanders Fields" with the final lines being.

"If ye break faith with those who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields"

One his death in 1918, McRae's need for Remembrance remained and he asked that his grave be strewn with poppies in Remembrance not only of his death but those of his fallen brothers.

To this day a poppy wreath is lain on his tombstone in France and in 1921 The British Legion adopted the poppy as the symbol of Remembrance.

We shall remember them.