In memory – Memorial Day and the Poppy

Mon. May. 30, 2016

flag and eagle

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  In Memorial Day and the Poppy

Garden Bite would like to thank all those who serve in the United States Military and their families.  We honor those who gave everything.

Today is the day we reflect and remember our Soldiers.  Memorial Day, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died.  By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military. corn poppy 3

The red poppy came to symbolize our war veterans in 1921.  It is a wildflower poppy.  During World war one, the fields of Flanders in western Belgium saw 4 years of unrelenting battle.  These fields had been filled with poppies but due to the trampling and bombing, there were no flowers during those years.  After the war ended, these tough annual red poppies came back and in a most spectacular fashion.  A seed count was taken with 2500 seeds found per square foot of that field.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

Written in Flanders on May 3, 1915

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.

poppies

Obviously, the post-war, blood red bloom from the fields of battle had a huge impact on all who saw or heard about it. But surely the most lasting memorial is the famous poem by Canadian battle surgeon/poet, John McCrae. Like the Star Spangled Banner, written in Baltimore Harbor during the bombardment, this poem was written on the spot, as McCrae gazed at fresh graves of his friends and comrades, and poppies “blowing” in the wind.

The Corn Poppy can be found at Millington seed company and Texas Bluebonnet seeds .  I’m sure you can find other places if you do a google search.  This will get you started.

 

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