Being Blog

Remember and Reflect

#towerpoppies_2

Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States, as well as Armistice Day in France and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. In London, there is an art installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the beginning of World War I. It is nothing short of breathtaking, as each one of the 888,246 poppies that fills the moat represents a British or Colonial military fatality during the First World War. It is a beautiful example of how art can help heal and be a part of the recovery and remembrance in the aftermath of devastating war – even if that is 100 years later.

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Each one of the ceramic poppies was handmade by artists in Britain. To learn more about their process, watch the following video:

The poppy has been used as a symbol of remembrance since 1921 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war – inspired by the WWI poem by Lientenant Colonel John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields.”  

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.

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This exhibit is a resounding example that a country never fully recovers from a war – the deaths of loved ones leave a lasting mark on both our hearts and our country’s psyche. These sacrifices were (and are) huge and should not be forgotten. Sometimes we need the visual of 888,246 poppies to remember. My hope is that it also reminds us that each one of these represents a life – and that war = lives lost. Even if a soldier survives a war, they carry it with them for their entire life. So, those that survive deserve to be taken care of and remembered in the same way as those who have died. The artists, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, did an amazing job of reminding all of us to remember and reflect upon the lives of our veterans and the effects of war. 

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