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Remembrance Poppies

Remembrance Poppies

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, November 12, 2018/Categories: art and design, plants

                                     World War I Remembrance Poppies (credit: Wikicommons)

Anyone who has turned on the television or listened to the radio lately would have heard or seen the presenters wearing an odd lapel pin. These are remembrance poppies used to symbolize the fallen soldiers in WWI. 

The use of a red poppy was first immortalized by the 1915 war poem, In Flanders Field. The small artificial red poppies are worn on clothing for a few weeks prior to Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, November 11th. Poppy wreaths are placed on war memorials as well. The poppy pin has been adopted for this same reason by nations in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States where fallen soldiers are remembered for their valor, service, and sacrifice.

Remember Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), and Lapel Pin (credit: Wiki-commons and file graphic)

Flowers have always been used to represent purity, something good, and symbolic. Evidence has been discovered from 35,000-60,000 year old burial caves in the Middle East, showing that even the Neanderthals may have buried their dead with flowers. Pollen samples analyzed from recovered skeletons show specific medicinal plant species may have been deliberately placed with the deceased person. It's nice to think modern humans may have inherited our cultural use of flowers to honor the dead from such an ancient past.

On this 100th Anniversary of the end to WWI, remember the symbolism of a red lapel pin as reminder of fallen heroes but of also an ancient tradition.



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