Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red"

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between 
Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. 
On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time.

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with 
peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
President Woodrow Wilson

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower issued the first Veteran's Day Proclamation...changing the name form Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.  
On Veteran's Day 2014, I am grateful for the veterans in my family.  
My father in the Korean War, 
his father in WWI, 
my father-in-law in WWII, 
and my husband in the Vietnam War.  
Heroes everyone of them!
Thank you to veterans across the country for your heroism, patriotism, and service.
God Bless each one of you!!

We didn't know this when we were planning our trip to England, but this year marks 100 years since Britain's involvement in the first World War.  A major art installation was planned to commemorate the occasion. 
A 100 year celebration...and we were there to see it.  It was remarkable!!

We arrived at the Tower of London in the rain.

But it really didn't matter....nothing could dim the Red of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas...  

The installation contains 888,246 red ceramic poppies. Each poppy represents a British or Commonwealth soldier who was killed during the First World War.

Every poppy was handmade by a team of 12 different artists participating in the project.

It takes about three days for each poppy to be completed, included drying time.

More than 8,000 volunteers helped to progressively plant the poppies in the moat. The first poppies were planted in August and the final poppy will be planted today, November 11th...Armistice Day.

By Nov. 12th, it's estimated that close to four million people will have visited the Tower of London to see the flowers...including eight of us!

I'm so glad that Charlotte got to see this amazing display...I'm so glad we all got to see it!

The poppies were being sold, with part of the proceeds going to six different charities 
which provide services and support to veterans.

No two poppies are the same...each one was made by hand.

  The project was highly emotional for everyone involved.  Particularly on one day, when a group of Normandy veterans stopped by to visit the artists. Each veteran helped to make one of the poppies.

Every poppy has been sold!

Click HERE to see how the poppies were made.

The Wave is a steel construction made of poppies surrounding the entrance to the Tower of London, while the Weeping Window depicts poppies falling from a window on the top floor of the Tower. You can see a bit of The Wave in the photo above.

So many of the days we spent in England were on the dreary side.  Somehow, on this day, it seemed appropriate. Somber. Reflective. Sad. It's an experience I will not soon forget.

Last week my son-in-law (the Brit, you know) sent me an email...he said, "Glad we went when we did.  The underground station is shut down due to too many visitors.  Buses now take you directly there from the other underground stations."  He included the following link: 

You should visit it....the photos are incredible!
Here's a peek at two.

The building in the background is called The Shard.  
It was from this building that the photo below was taken.

See the walkway in the foreground of the photo...the one that looks 
like a little bridge crossing over a sea of red?  
I walked on that!  
I still can't believe it!


Ann said...

wow, that is simply stunning and it brings chills thinking about what it represents. What an amazing sight to see

Scrap for Joy said...

Wonderful post, Marie! I have seen many photos of the poppies but yours show remarkable detail. We all owe a debt of gratitude to all who served.

Theresa F said...

Heroes indeed.

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.

Lest we forget.