We were on Kings Road when we came across this special Remembrance Day ceremony by the students of Chelsea Academy.
We stopped to watch as each of the children put down a cross with a poppy on it – and on each cross, the name of those from Chelsea whose lives perished in the First Great War.
As the students stood for moment to reflect, so did we – the Sleeping Ruff bunch.And we each paid our moment of silence for those who sacrificed their lives. These crosses represent some of the 940 Chelsea lives lostWearing our poppies proudly
May’s comment: After the First World War, the red poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance and hope. Red because of the natural colour of field poppies, not because of bloodshed. The poppy is not a symbol of death or a sign of support for war. Much of the fighting during the First World War (1914-1918) took place in Western Europe. The once beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again. The landscape became bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow. Yet in the spring of 1915, on the very battle-scarred fields, bright red delicate but resilient Flanders poppies grew in their thousands.
In early May 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of the poppies in the fields to write the poem –
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.
The poem then inspired Moina Michael, an American academic, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin. The (Royal) British Legion which was formed in 1921 ordered 9 million of these poppies and sold them on 11 November that year. That first ever ‘Poppy Appeal’ raised over £106,000 – a considerable amount for that time. The money raised was used to help WW1 veterans with employment and housing.
Since then the Poppy Appeal has become a national effort, each year used to raise money for all the War veterans.
We are proud to wear the poppy to remember and to help those who gave so much for us.