This week’s Work of the Week is Poppy #1 by Thomas Wong in honour of Remembrance Day.
How did such humble flower become a powerful symbol of remembrance?
According the Canada’s War Museum website:
“The familiar symbol of the poppy owes much of its fame to Canadian poet and soldier John McCrae (1872-1918). In Flanders Fields, McCrae’s best-known poem, was inspired by and made reference to the poppies which grew along the Western Front…
The blood-red poppy had long been associated with the fighting armies of Europe, and the flowers often overgrew the mass graves left by battles. During the First World War, enormous artillery bombardments completely disrupted the landscape, infusing the chalk soils with lime. The poppies thrived in the environment, their colours standing out against the blasted terrain.
In 1921, the Great War Veterans’ Association, the largest of several Canadian veterans groups, adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. The Canadian Legion, formed in 1925, continued this connection. The poppy was worn on the left lapel and close to the heart to recognize the sacrifice of soldiers in times of war…
The poppy remains an enduring symbol of remembrance in Canada, Great Britain, the nations of the Commonwealth, and in the United States for those who served or fell in service of their country.”