Why a Poppy?
Flanders is the name of the western part of Belgium where some of the most concentrated and bloodiest fighting of the First World War took place. There was complete devastation. Buildings, roads, trees and natural life disappeared. Where there were homes and farms there was now a sea of mud - a grave for the dead - where men remained fighting.
Only one living thing survived. The Poppy. Flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather, it brought life, hope, colour and reassurance to those still fighting. Poppies only flower in rooted up soil. Their seeds can lay in the ground for years without germinating, and only grow after the ground has been disturbed.
John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Armed Forces, was so deeply moved by what he saw blooming in a place of such devastation, that in 1915 in his small note book, he scribbled down the poem "In Flanders Fields".