This May 25, 2020, let’s honor our country’s war dead and these COVID-19 heroes by the symbolic wearing of poppies. This tradition goes back to one of nature’s phenomena that occurred in war-torn battlefields during World War I, where the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only germinating when the ground was disturbed—as it was by the brutal fighting.
The practice of wearing poppies was further inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae when he saw the poppies in burials around his artillery position in Belgium.
Here is an excerpt from “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae, May 1915:
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...
The torch; be yours to hold it high...
Today, poppies are both a symbol of loss of life and a symbol of recovery and new life, as we care for our servicemen damaged physically or emotionally and those who have been stricken by the coronavirus.
Happy Birthday, Chris. You are our hero! Miss you ever so much, every day!