Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Poppy is for Sacrifice

The Poppy is for Sacrifice
Originally uploaded by Leone Fabre.

November is poppy month, the time of the year when by the wearing of a simple emblem, a red poppy, we salute the memory of those who sacrificed their health, their strength, even their lives, that we might live in a free country.

Long known as the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) because it flourishes as a weed in grain fields, the Flanders poppy as it is now usually called, grew profusely in the trenches and craters of the war zone. Artillery shells and shrapnel stirred up the earth and exposed the seeds to the light they needed to germinate.

This same poppy also flowers in Turkey in early spring - as it did in April 1915 when the ANZACs landed at Gallipoli. According to Australia’s official war historian C.E.W.Bean, a valley south of ANZAC beach got its name Poppy Valley “from the field of brilliant red poppies near its mouth”.

In Australia, single poppies are not usually worn on ANZAC Day - the poppy belongs to Remembrance Day, 11 November. However, wreaths of poppies are traditionally placed at memorials and honour boards on ANZAC Day.

But it does not matter if it is April or November - if you wish to wear a RED POPPY to remember those that have died for your freedom - you do so.

This poppy was photographed in Turkey where I was earlier this month - to see it in bloom actually in Turkey in springtime was special indeed.

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