With the blood red petals and it's stamen black as night, the poppy has always had it's own unique beauty about it. In some cultures it is considered the gateway to the dreamworld or even to the land of the dead.The Victorians saw as a producer of a powerful drug that could either be a hinder or help to a person depending on the want or the need.The generations of the 20th centuries see it as a symbol of Remembrance.
A small little flower that was immortalized thanks to a poem written by a Canadian soldier during the height of the First World War. In his poem, he describes these blood red flowers that grew in the fields where the resting places of thousands young men found themselves. In his thoughts, he remarked about the beauty and sadness these flowers possessed. They were a calm and moment of peace during a time of chaos, death and madness.
Lt.Colonel McCrae's poem at the time became more than just the words and thoughts of a soldier on the battlefield, who was trying to honor his fallen brothers at arms, it was the beginning of a symbol that would carry on from generation to generation to respect and remember those who had died during times of war.
The wearing of poppies was introduced back in 1921 by the National American Legion, thanks to an American YWCA worker by the name of Molina Michael. She had campaigned that the poppy should be worn as a symbol of Remembrance. With the help of a Frenchwoman named, Anna E. Guerin, the artificial poppy was born. Field Marshal Douglas Haig, founder of the Royal British Legion, adopted the idea of getting these poppies out to the general public. Thus the British Poppy appeal was born. From there, the countries of the commonwealth in time adapted their own poppy to remember their own war dead.
These days most people have forgotten the reason as to why the poppy is prevalent. The wars of old are forgotten, as the history of the stories of those men and women are dying off. The younger generation don't often think about those who fought and died for the life they live today.
I am often asked why, I so proudly wear my poppy over my heart. It was a tradition for me. It was something that was always done. From the time I can remember, from my father pinning one on my jacket lapel, not really understand why. It was hearing the stories of my Grandfather, who did fight in WWII, that brought the meaning behind the poppy full circle. I wanted him to know that his efforts and the efforts of his fallen comrades where not forgotten. Now that my Grandfather is no longer with me in the physical sense, I feel that his stories and his courage, bravery and strength should always be remembered. My poppies are with me all year round. As a reminder. To always remember, that there are people out there who are deserving of being remembered for their sacrifices.
Every November I have always had a poppy. Whether I have had to have my parents smuggle them from Canada or sent from England. I have always had one. And every year I get asked where did I get mine. The Legions out here, who do their own poppy campaign, need more than just our support. They need our time. I will always buy my buddy poppy and support my local legions out here. At the end of their run, I normally have a lovely little bouquet of poppies. Wearing one and buying one shows that you care. That the good fight they fought in their perspective wars, was not done unnoticed. That the friends they lost didn't die in vain for a generation to forget.
One little poppy... shows that you care. It shows you remember them.
If you can't get a hold of a poppy, then do something nice for a Veteran. Help them to their cars or with their groceries. Buy them a cup of Joe. Or just taking a moment to thank them. Something. Anything to let them know that they are appreciated and that they served their country with honor and dignity.
Lest we all forget. Remember Them.
For more information on poppy appeals and campaigns, please check out these following websites