No Flowers

Here in the US Sunday is Veterans Day; back in the UK it is Remembrance Sunday. In both countries this is day to remember and honour those who fought in the armed forces. It is officially a federal holiday on the Monday, although in common with many holidays here it is only observed by government offices.

Remembrance Day is not a holiday in the UK, but it is noted more widely and more visibly than here in the US. The wearing of artificial poppies is common in the UK in the run-up to Remembrance Day. It seems odd not to see people at work with the familiar red flower pinned to their lapels. The poppy became a symbol for those who lost their lives in the First World War as it flowered in the fields of Flanders, in which many of the bloodiest battles of that war were fought. The imagery of the poppy and the Great War was first used in a poem by a Canadian called John McCrae:

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.

Published in: on 9 November, 2007 at 17:01  Leave a Comment  

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