Red poppies are worn on Memorial Day to honor people who have given their lives to protect the freedom of the citizens of the United States. Not only that, but the VFW sells the paper “Buddy Poppy” to help veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans. This tradition began with the inspiration from this poem written by Colonel John McCrae.
In Flanders Fields
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 grow
In Flanders fields.
For more details see this link to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
This link to USMemorialDay.org credits Moina Michael as the first to wear and sell the poppy for remembrance. She also wrote a poem reply the above poem.
“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.”
Today, on Memorial Day, take a break from the celebrations, cookouts and other festivities that we enjoy on this long weekend for the “National Moment of Remembrance.” At 3 PM, please observe this Moment of Remembrance and respect, by pausing from whatever you are doing for a moment of silence or listening to “Taps.”
To me poppies are very beautiful, delicate and intriguing flowers. Flowers are some of my favorite photography subjects too. My gardening skills aren’t great though. Luckily I know people who have an incredible green thumb and are gracious enough to let me wander aimlessly around their yard for a day trying to capture all the beauty that I see.
One of my neighbors enjoys gardening and camping, so she needs someone with special watering skills like me. HA! I can keep plants alive for 2-3 days – no problem.
Being Memorial Day weekend it is their first trip this year, so I got a special treat when I went into their back yard for the first time this season. My two small “hose assistants” wandered back there first and came back quickly to say “Mommy, it is BEAUTIFUL back there!” I was surprised by many more flowers than last year. Of course I wanted to just run back to my house and grab my camera, but I had a job to do first!
While I was watering I was thinking about how to capture all the different flowers and it seemed like I could have a pretty cool collection of images. Of course, I would also want to share those images with you here. Then my mind wandered to the other gardens I have been invited to photograph and it gave me a great idea to feature these gardens here. So look for those features coming up soon.
Back and forth I wandered with camera in-hand several times this weekend. For now, in honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to share one of her poppies. She has amazing poppies that grow in her front yard. I see the brilliant color from across the street. These things are the size of dinner plates! Really they are 7-8 INCHES across. I measured them. They always seem to bloom right around Memorial Day too. They are not red colored though, but I figured that was something I could
alter in Photoshop. Does it look convincing to you?
My watering stipend was permission to cut one of those babies. When I asked, she knew my plan. “You are going to take pictures, aren’t you?” I wanted to get that flower inside out of the breeze and with lighting I could completely control. These are the things that excite me. The best part is she is also going to give me a seed pod so next year I will have some of my own! In fact, many of the flowers and plants in my yard were given to me by her.
Thank you, Marley for the inspiration that blooms every year. Happy Memorial Day to you all!