Lest We Forget, Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Sunday was Remembrance sunday. We went to see the installation at The Tower of London. Called "Blood-Swept Lands and Seas of Red" and by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, it is meant to be a representation of  all the lives lost in the Great War. Each poppy represents a commonwealth live lost.

Luckily for myself and Mr O, the close ancestors that fought in that horrible war survived. The losses, sadly, came 25 years later. Even so, even without a familial face to put on a poppy, it was still a highly emotive thing to see.

The final poppy was planted today, making the full amount of 888,246 poppies now sitting in the moat at the tower. It is now being slowly removed, but bits will remain up for the rest of the month. Do go and see if you can.

Not many realize that the poppy became the symbol of remembrance because they grew all over the battle fields, over the war graves of the dead. That image also inspired my favourite war poem, so I'm putting in here. Seems right today.

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.

John McCrea 1915

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