A field of poppies

This post is for non-British readers, who may have noticed that these days a lot of British people wear a poppy on their lapel. Such poppies are used for wartime remembrance and the choice of this flower comes from the famous poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by the Canadian surgeon and soldier 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.

In Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, artificial poppies are worn to commemorate those who died in war. This form of commemoration is associated with Remembrance Day, which falls on November 11. The money collected is used by the Royal British Legion, a UK Service charity which provides care and supports serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

Every year, I am proud to wear a poppy on my lapel, even if I think I am the only one in Milan to do it!

A field of poppies near Westminster Abbey, London, November 2012


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