Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today, the red poppy still serves as a symbol of the Armistice that ended the war on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Today, in the United States, we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th. All over the world, countries that have lost soldiers in various conflicts around the globe remember their sacrifices on Veterans Day. In the United States, the most prevalent symbol of Veterans Day are the stars and stripes of the American Flag. Around the world, particularly in the British Commonwealth, the red poppy is still the most frequently employed symbol of remembrance.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow. . . So begins the poem written by Canadian Physician John McCrae, describing the 1915 World War I battlefield in the Ypres salient. Corn poppies, so named because they grow wild as a weed in fields of grain, cover the battlefields of Europe where soldiers from around the world–including Canada, Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States– fell during World War I.

Soldiers returning home from the war told stories of the wild red poppies growing in otherwise barren fields. Many of the battlefields became the final resting place of the soldiers that died there, and the red poppies became a symbol of the war, and of the veterans that had given their lives for the cause. The red of the poppies symbolized, in the minds of many, the blood of the fallen soldiers

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