In spite of how the poppy is being used to score political points in recent times, it is something that the meaning of should not be forgotten.
After the amount of blood that was split on the fields of Flanders, there was doubt that anything would ever grow on those fields for a long time to come. The churned earth that had become the graves of those who had given their lives in the First World War were, to the surprise of most, crowned with wild poppies growing upon them.
It was adopted as the symbol of remembrance after is was mentioned in the poem “In Flanders Fields” a poem written from the point of view of a soldier.
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.
The poem was written John McCrae in 1915.
So at a time when people are trying to score points with the public or change the meaning of this symbol to something else. Please remember that the First World War and Second World War were fought by men from around the world. People of different countries and religions coming together to stop a threat.
That when we sit and reflect on Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day about how many people took up arms, volunteered to go fight and die in squalid and rancid conditions, we show our gratitude by supporting the veterans of wars that have been fought since then. It is not just about buying a poppy once a year.
Men and women fight so that others do not have to. They go into war zones to keep the peace, to rebuild what has been destroyed, to stop militia, protect aid workers and protect the local population.
There are many charities to help veterans, two of which Mightier Than the Sword UK are proud to support – Army of Angels and Help for Heroes. There is also the British Legion who run the poppy appeal every year.
The Ode of Remembrance
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
Lest we forget