“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”*
As you know, August 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI and in England they are taking this centenary very seriously. To mark the occasion, they installed (in my humble opinion) the most moving war commemoration ever at the Tower of London. Ceramic artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper made 888,246 ceramic poppies, which they planted at the tower over a couple of months. Each one represented a single British soldier killed in action during the war. You can visit the official site and read all about it here. According to the artists, “The scale of the installation was intended to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary and create a powerful visual commemoration.” I’ll say. The following pics come from all over the internet. The installation started out fairly modestly
but it grew as hundreds of volunteers planted the poppies.
Her majesty (and, indeed, other royals and VIPs) came to view them.
By the time they finished, poppies filled the entire moat and hundreds of thousands of people had come to pay their respects.
They sold the individual poppies that made up the installation and so raised millions of pounds which were shared equally amongst six charities. I bought two, one of which I gave to my colleague who specializes in WWI and who helped me edit a big project. After months of waiting, they finally arrived carefully packed in a neat box complete with accompanying certificate and informative booklet. I ‘planted’ mine with one of my potted plants.
And every time I look at it, I think about all those poor men, including my great uncle Guy, who died in the mud in France and Belgium. So this Memorial Day, don’t just barbeque — watch an appropriate movie, read a book or some poetry (there’s lots of excellent poetry), visit your local war memorial, but do something to remember. The dead deserve it.
*the title of the Tower of London installation