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What’s the significance of a Poppy for Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day has been celebrated in Canada, and in other member states of the Commonwealth, since the end of the First World War, in order to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Thus, this is a way to ensure that no one is forgotten as the nation unites to honor all who have suffered or died in war.

The reason why we usually wear a red remembrance poppy, which is now a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day, is due to the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

Bright red Flanders poppies were delicate but resilient flowers, and grew in their thousands across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction. These red poppies bloomed everywhere, and for that reason, their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled during the war, and thus the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance.

The Poem:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

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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