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The war flower

Many countries across the world have used poppies to commemorate those killed in the line of duty. Now America is also planning to launch a US Poppy Day. Why is the flower associated with war?

Published: 26th May 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2017 12:08 AM   |  A+A-

Many countries across the world have used poppies to commemorate those killed in the line of duty. Now America is also planning to launch a US Poppy Day. Why is the flower associated with war?

Sea of red The bright red
poppy (Papaver rhoeas) has been used as a symbol of the fallen since World War I. During the War, continuous fighting in the countryside destroyed the landscape. Land became barren, nothing would grow —except one plant

Poppies bloom
This continual assault on the ground exposed millions of dormant poppy seeds, says AFP. In the spring of 1915 warm weather saw dazzling carpets of red bursting to life across the fighting grounds. These poppies are different from the species cultivated on a large scale to extract the drug opium

A poem too
The sight of poppies inspired a soldier to write a poem. Lt Col John McCrae, who lost one of his friends in the Battle of Ypres, wrote the now famous In Flanders Fields

Support for veterans
The poem inspired an American academic Moina Michael to make and sell red silk poppies which were later used to generate monetary support for veterans

Blood Swept Lands
In 2015, to mark the centenary of the start of WWI, two British artists set up an installation of 8,88,246 ceramic red poppies at the Tower of London. The installation was named ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, and each poppy represented one British or colonial life lost

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