Remembrance Day – Veterans Day – Armistice Day 11/11/11

Wherever we are, we should never forget to honour the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our countries. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, let us all observe two minutes of silence and show our respect.

In case you are wondering how the poppy came to be such a strong symbol of remembrance, here’s an explanation from the website.

Why the Poppy?

Today, fields of brilliant poppies still grow in France.

A writer first made the connection between the poppy and battlefield deaths during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, remarking that fields that were barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.

During the tremendous bombardments of the First World War the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing ‘popaver rhoeas’ to thrive. When the war ended the lime was quickly absorbed, and the poppy began to disappear again.

After John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields was published in 1915 the poppy became a popular symbol for soldiers who died in battle.

Three years later an American, Moina Michael, was working in a New York City YMCA canteen when she started wearing a poppy in memory of the millions who died on the battlefield.

During a 1920 visit to the United States a French woman, Madame Guerin, learned of the custom. On her return to France she decided to use handmade poppies to raise money for the destitute children in war-torn areas of the country. In November, 1921, the first poppies were distributed in Canada.

Thanks to the millions of  people who wear a poppy each November, the symbolism of this little red plant has never died.

Poppies in France - my photo



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 growIn Flanders Fields.

John McCrae 1915


Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

12 thoughts on “Remembrance Day – Veterans Day – Armistice Day 11/11/11

  1. I knew the poppy was popular (no pun intended) in England, but I didn’t realize it was something they did here in the States as well. I’ll have to find a red poppy tomorrow (I have a ton of pink ones that grow wild in my yard, but no red!) and wear one in remembrance.

    What a lovely post, Patricia. The history of the poppy is fascinating and while I knew it was associated with this day, I had no idea why. Thanks for the edification.

  2. I have an original hand-inked version of McCrae’s poem (from an artist I’m sure, not himself) that hangs in our home. It’s a lovely reminder of a time long before I was born and an event whose ramifications continue to resonate.

    Remembrance Day is important for us too.

  3. I really do enjoy reading your blog and never more so than this morning. I awoke way to early with things on my mind to see this blog in my in box and I suddenly thought… Hang on, my woes are nothing in comparison to what these men did for their country.

    The explanation to the origin of the poppy was fab and will read it to my daughter when she wakes up. I never knew half of it.

    Wonderful blog, as always xxx

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Lou. You are so right. When we think of the things many people in the military have faced through all of these terrible wars, our “troubles” pale by comparison.

  4. thank you for this post, Patricia.
    I attended the Remembrance day Assembly at my children’s school yesterday and a soldier spoke. I was in tears. (More than once)
    I was so proud of all the children, for their respect and understanding during the assembly. So often, too often, the meaning of the day is forgotten.
    Thank you.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. As a mom at my children’s Remembrance Day assemblies and a former elementary school teacher I was often in tears on November 11. November 11 used to be a holiday here many years ago and I think it has so much more meaning since kids stayed at school. They put so much learning and appreciation into the meaning of this day. It’s so nice you could be there.

  5. Oh, what a beautiful post, Patricia. I knew this red poppy story (I don’t even remember from where) so when you tweeted about it I recognized it right away.

    Love the poem – thank you so much for sharing it. I think I’m gonna save it and read it often. It’s so lovely.

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