Just a year ago I visited the art installation at the Tower of London which commemorated the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. The installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was made of ceramic poppies, one for each of the 888,246 men who perished in the British Army at that time. Tens of thousands of those who died were Irishmen.
Contrary to popular belief, Armistice Day continued to be observed in Ireland in the years and decades after the 1916 Rising. In 1926 for example an estimated 40,000 people turned out in Dublin in remembrance of fallen relatives and friends.
I was among the lucky ones who got to buy one of the ceramic poppies from the Tower of London installation. It is now beautifully framed and stands in sorrowful remembrance of the pity of war.
Further details and more photos of the installation at The Tower of London in 2014 can be seen in my post Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
12 responses to “One Poppy”
The images I’ve seen of the Tower exhibition were wonderful. What a moving tribute. Your poppy looks beautiful, and such a reminder! We lost a great uncle in the third Somme offensive of 1918, and the grandfathers who came home from WWI carried their injuries and experiences for the rest of their lives; rippling outward to touch the generations that followed.
Coming from a family who served in so many conflicts over the years, Rememberance Day is but one day that reminds us of all who served. We have been more fortunate than many, as more came home than not, but many came home carrying great wounds, some visible, some not.
I have long had a vase of poppies in my living room as a daily reminder. It is heartening to see that they who have given so much, whether in conflict or not, are not forgotten. The proliferation of poppies in so many forms, is so touching..I’ve never seen a ceramic poppy framed, it is truly beautiful.
Of course those who ‘gave their lives’ were often those who returned maimed mentally as well as physically. It is good to remember all of them.
Your framed poppy is both beautiful and evocative of that very moving installation. I do like the Irish remembrance pin. I’ve made sure to buy a few of the 1914-1918 pins here which will go to my grandchildren one day.
Thank you Pauleen! I am sure the grandchildren will treasure the pins when they get them. The whole poppy wearing thing is becoming so politicised here now, it’s bit of a challenge to see the wood for the trees. In recent times everyone on TV has been obligated to wear one, it seems from mid October, irrespective of the programme…news, current affairs, farming, humour, light entertainment, poppies have to be displayed. They often look ridiculous and I wonder if it is disrespectful to the memory of men who died screaming in muck filled rat infested trenches to have poppy appended to the cleavage of a scantily clad woman performing an erotic salsa on tv. Personally I prefer mine to symbolise the First World War, Flanders Fields and all that, and do not need to see them being treated with disrespect.
I totally agree Angela but it’s like everyone has to been seen to be on the bandwagon. At least ours don’t get much emphasis prior to the day and in fact I feel they’re worn less and less. Re the salsa dancer …I suspect some of those Aussie soldiers might have enjoyed seeing that rather than the rat infested muddy trenches they were in.
Angela, a really moving and poignant post.
I agree that the poppy has had a difficult journey here in Ireland and remember all too well how my mother was often the only person to wear one in memory of her beloved double first cousin who was killed in WW2.
Your single poppy brings that image back to me in many ways.
Thank you SB. Your Mum was very single minded to stand out with her poppy! It took courage to do it, even up to a short number of years ago, they were rarely seen here. Nice to see that we are getting real …finally!
I remember your post about the poppies very well! I’m glad you have one of them, to keep and protect the memories.
Thank you! I am delighted we have one of them too..a real piece of history! Thanks for popping in!
How wonderful of you to share your single poppy with us! I enjoyed your post earlier but had to go back and read it again. As a child in Texas I remember Buddy Poppies (as we called them) being sold at the post office. How I wish I had saved one that my father bought and wore!
Glad you liked One Poppy. It’s a thrill to have it. I like the idea of Poppy Buddies. Strange how little things from our past can become so significant as the years march on. It would be so lovely if you had one now.