The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day. But how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars? Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) 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, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers. In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe\’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields. The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts. It was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921.
The Royal British Legion has started this year\’s Poppy Appeal.
In the days leading up to 11 November, you will see people on the TV and in the streets wearing a poppy. This is a symbol to remember those who have given their lives in war. Millions of poppies will be given out over the coming days by tens of thousands of volunteers. Why do we wear poppies? The reason poppies are used to remember those who have given their lives in battle is because they are the flowers which grew on the battlefields after World War One ended. Poppies growing in a field in France, which used to be a battlefield This is described in the famous World War One poem In Flanders Fields, which you can read below. Ever since then, they have come to be a symbol of remembering not just those who gave their lives in World War One, but all those who have died on behalf of their country. Every year, volunteers make poppies available throughout the country and people make a donation in order to get their poppy. The money raised from these donations is used to help servicemen and women who are still alive, whose lives have been changed by wars that they fought in. Former soldiers remember those who have lost their lives in war on Remembrance Sunday. You can see one at the front is carrying a wreath of poppies It might help them to get jobs and somewhere to live, and will also help older war veterans with any support they may need.
It is also used to help those who have lost loved ones because of wars. Where did it all start? Wearing poppies like this to raise money to help people who had fought in wars started in 1921. This was year that the Royal British Legion was founded on 15 May. However, back then the poppies weren\’t made out of paper like they are today. They were made out of silk. They sold out straight away and raised more than бе106,000 for those whose lives had been affected by the war, by helping to find them jobs and somewhere to live once they were no longer serving in the army. In 1922, a factory was set up where disabled former soldiers were employed to make the poppies. The poppies are made out of two plastic parts and two paper parts, and must be assembled by volunteers. Here you can see a pile of the green stems used to make poppies This factory is still running – and producing many millions of poppies each year – to this very day. While the majority of people wear their poppy on their chest, there is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy.
As the Royal British Legion says: \”We only ask you to wear it with pride. \” What is happening this year? For the 2017 Poppy Appeal, the poem mentioned earlier in this guide is playing an important role. That\’s because the words of the poem have been written out in poppies in seven different places – at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, on Dunkirk Beach in France, on the White Cliffs of Dover, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in Cardiff Bay, at Salford Quays in Greater Manchester and outside the Sage in Newcastle. The letters of the words have been made up of groups of poppies, so it looks like the poem is growing from the ground. You can read In Flanders Fields below. 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.