A little over a year ago I jumped in on the UK, searching to live new experiences and to grow up personally and professionally and after all those months, I have no complaints!
My job at Deaf Umbrella has given me confidence, experience and excellent funny moments. I have met a lot of new and interesting people and also new friends. And one of the most important things, I'm understanding and learning British culture.
One of the things that draws my attention the most is how committed the British people are to their country, and the memory of the fallen on their wars.
I remember how a year ago the whole country wore red poppies on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. Poppies on pins, on the TV, poppies on monuments, on supermarkets, cars... Poppies everywhere! But, what does it really mean?!
I started my research and found an inspirational story about how the poppy became the symbol of Remembrance.
After the WW1, the battlefield was a field of mud and barren where nothing could grow. However bright red Flanders poppies grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction.
The sight of poppies inspired Lt Col John McCrae to write the famous poem called "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.
That poem was the reason they make and sell red silk poppies (1921), raising over £106,000 to help WW1 veterans with employment and housing.
The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-Servicemen. Today, the factory and the Legion's warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year.
What a soulful story! I recommend you watch this animation that gives a quick summary of how the poppy became the UK symbol of Remembrance:
So, this year, when I am surrounded by red poppies and watching millions of people wearing the pins, I will know that the poppy is a symbol of Remembrance and hope and part of British life, culture and heritage.
Explore the Remembrance Events around the country
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