It is the time of year to remember with respect sacrifices made by veterans at wartime, and how their lives, and the lives of their loved ones were irrevocably changed. Perhaps there is no better visual symbol of remembrance than the poppy. Flowers, to us here, are a symbol of beauty, of nature and of caring. While this remains true of the poppy, that symbolism runs deeper. Among all the death and loss, it, too, was a symbol of hope.
In elementary school, one would be hard-pressed not to recall the Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the reciting of In Flanders Fields — or at least that is how it used to be. I always felt a deep sense of sadness, and a childish innocence of not understanding why men had to go to war; to kill and be killed. I can't say I agree with it anymore now than I did then, but age and exposure gives insight to the gravity of such parts of life. Interviewing veterans, relatives, wives who were left behind, attending Remembrance Day services as an adult and learning at the Military Museums in Calgary gave a small glimpse into some of the darker times in our history. And yet still, I feel a sense of sadness, and a childish innocence of not understanding; but a deeper sense of respect for what was endured for the path toward freedom.
WWI saw lush land turned barren from all the carnage, but Flanders poppies grew by the scores. This vision was the inspiration behind In Flanders Fields, written by Lt. Col John McCrae, a Canadian doctor, after the loss of his friend. A handful of years later, the poem was the inspiration to sell poppies, somewhat as we know today, worn as a symbol of remembrance. The money raised helped veterans who returned from the war. Today, millions of poppies are sold and worn.
Veterans fought for our right to have a choice. We, at Flowers on 9th, choose to first remember the sacrifices made before we direct our attention to the upcoming season.
Lest We Forget.
Image and factual information retrieved from http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/how-we-remember/the-story-of-the-poppy/